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Media and Democracy Initiative Africa (MEDIA) with support from UNESCO organised a /national media stakeholder’s roundtable on Radio and its Empowerment Potential for Women in Uganda on 21st and 22nd November 2019.

The two day dialogue in Fort Portal, Uganda aimed at; discussing the challenges and aspirations of female journalists in Uganda, discussing the state of occupational Safety of female journalists in Uganda, drawing and adopting recommendations to enhance the inclusion of women in radio, as well as recommendations to enhance the safety of female journalists in Uganda.

The roundtable at Whispering Gardens Hotel in Fort Portal was attended by 100 representatives including managers of 60 radio stations from western, central and northern Uganda, heads of media development organizations, heads of journalists’ associations, heads of departments of journalism at leading universities and tertiary institutions.

While opening the roundtable, the Executive Director of Media and Democracy Initiative Africa Ms Rita Kobusinge drew the participants’ attention to the UNESCO Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM), and urged them to incorporate the indicators into their institutional policy so as to enhance the gender sensitivity and inclusiveness of the media organizations. “The UNESCO Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media contain clear and precise parameters for gender balance among decision makers in media organizations, safe working environment for women and men and gender sensitive editorial policy, and therefore if adopted, the indicators can effectively address the current gender gap in Uganda’s media sector, particularly radio” said Ms Kobusinge.

During the roundtable, speakers identified a number of gender gaps in Ugandan radios, which included; majority of radio stations being owned and controlled by men, management in majority radios being male-dominated and male-dominated content, among others. “Women make only 31% of leadership positions at radio stations in Uganda…This implies that these women are too few to champion women needs in radio”, said Dr. Muhumuza Moses, Executive Director, Center for Action and Applied Research for Development (CAARD).

Participants had an opportunity to identify policy actions that can be taken to deepen women inclusive and transformative radio in Uganda. Some of the major recommendations proposed included: Government should strengthen legislation to compel radio stations to champion gender mainstreaming. Government must invest more resources in training media personnel in gender inclusiveness reporting and advocacy. Participants also proposed that radio stations should commit resources to train staff in gender mainstreaming and gender programming. Radio stations should also allocate more airtime to discuss gender needs, roles and gender based violence (GBV).