Sahara Media leads the way on gender mainstreaming in Tanzanian media

With support from an IMS partner, a gender mainstreaming trend is slowly spreading in Tanzanian media.

Sahara Media editor has been able to establish a gender desk at the workplace and has supported an employee who had given birth to twins amid another baby with two leaves for her to take care of her babies. Under the Tanzanian labour laws, the latter is not entitled to any maternity leave.

Gender mainstreaming has not always been a priority to media outlets in Tanzania taking into considerations the industry was once male dominated in terms of editorial positions.

However, the trend is now changing especially with the most recent support by the IMS to Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) who conducted training to editors. 

Sharbano Ally who is the Chief Editor at Kiss FM as well as an assistant human resource at Sahara Media admits that she was one of the beneficiaries for the training.

Asked on how the situation was before she admits that they never used to have any committee in charge of gender related issues and whenever something happened they only dealt with it administratively.

“After the training and specifically last year we formed several task forces, one being a gender desk to deal with sexual harassment and gender-based violence. The committee comprise of adults who are in charge of the gender desk. The desk has helped as some of the employees came out and shared their experiences encountered during field work assignment. Staff may be safe here, but they become vulnerable while on field and we are still trying to see how we can make sure they are safe while at work outside of the office,” says Sharbano.

She is quick to add however that their media outlet has tried its best to have women with qualities to hold managerial positions where they have four female editors, as well as news desks and assistant editors. 

Sahara Media house has also been proactive in commemorating events such as the 16 Days of Activism as well as engaging in programs to address gender-based violence and sexual harassment, climate and development as part of their work to promote gender equality and parity.

Vailet Shinji is one among the two team members at the gender desk and admits that the training and the subsequent establishment of a gender desk has seen them become more sensitive during employment where they train young female scribes with little experience as at times whenever they need assistance in their line of work they are required to provide something which is demeaning to receive the support.

Gender mainstreaming in media houses has hitherto not been taken seriously by media houses. For a media house to appoint a gender desk is a significant and concrete step to ensure effective implementation of gender equality polices and improvement of (female) journalists’ safety.