On 13 February 2014, the Media Institute of Southern African (MISA) joins the rest of the world to mark the third annual World Radio Day, and to celebrate radio as a medium and the positive impact it has around the world.
The theme of this year’s World Radio Day is gender equality and women’s empowerment in radio, so celebrations will focus not only on celebrating radio as a medium, but on the contribution women are making to broadcast media.
Commenting on the 2014 theme, MISA’s Regional Director Zoé Titus, noted that whilst women in Africa have made great strides in radio, concerted effort is still required to ensure equal opportunities for women in the broadcasting sector.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), worldwide only around 25 percent of media enterprise board members are women, just 22 percent of news subjects in radio are women, and only 6 percent of stories highlight issues of gender equality. In Africa, women report only 38 percent of radio stories.
MISA is of the view that women make an important contribution to the diversity of values, culture and expertise, expressed in broadcasting output and in the work place. For this reason MISA is committed to working with media owners, media workers and governments to develop gender-related policies and strategies for radio and, equally important, to promote the safety of women radio journalists.
Titus issued a challenge to female radio journalists across southern Africa, imploring them to “be the difference that they wish to see in the radio sector”.
“Only women themselves can lead this revolution,” she said. “I want to see women journalists educating themselves, to claim their power and that of radio to bridge the inequality gap.”