Where Women Lead: A Conversation with Women at the forefront of the media industry in Africa

Women leadership matters!  That message was loud and clear when female trailblazers in the media industry across Africa — from Kenya to South Africa to Nigeria — came together recently to share their stories, experiences and the work they continue to do to tackle gender discrimination and advance women and girls’ empowerment in the media industry.

Female executives from the Aim Group of Stations (Nigeria), Channels Media Group (Nigeria) and Switch TV (Kenya)—members of the SDG Media Compact, an alliance of media organizations committed to the Sustainable Development Goals— together with an inspiring female leader of  MultiChoice (South Africa) engaged in a dynamic conversation, ably moderated by  Nompumelelo Siziba  SABC business news and TV anchor, on the tremendous efforts women are undertaking to build a more equal future.

At the outset, Ms. Siziba called for changes in the negative portrayal of women leaders, noting that “there is a real sentiment that women should be leading from the front and should be taken seriously.”

Gender inequality is still pervasive, and these inspiring women are taking decisive action.  From building networks to creating gender diverse workforces and developing programming to dismantle negative stereotypes, they are using their leadership to level the playing field.

Channels Media Group, the premier broadcaster in Nigeria, for example, created the Channels Women Network to provide an enabling environment for women to garner support from their peers and to thrive in a male- dominated space.

“We came about the female network organization or group, using it as a forum to imbibe confidence and to incorporate a sense of confidence in our female workers, especially the journalists and to also give them a very good sense of belonging so they too own something, they own a platform,” stated Olusola Momoh, Vice Chairman of Channels Media Group.

“As women, we owe it to ourselves to build these alliances, to build these networks, to reach out to each other, to share stories and create a network that can make it possible to either mentor,advise or just represent women of the media in a way in which perhaps we don’t do as much as we should,” echoed Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Video, MultiChoice.

Training and gender sensitive hiring are also critical to boosting women’s empowerment. To this end, MultiChoice launched the Technology Associate Program for Women in Technology as well as the MultiChoice Talent Factory, making gender balance a priority in its training and hiring practices.

According to Tatiana Moussalli Nouri, Deputy Group Managing Director of the Aim Group of Stations, women are often more aware and responsive than men to certain complex situations and will as a result, act differently. Tatiana gave an example of how she leveraged her position to offer support to children out of school during lockdown in Nigeria. She reached out to the government of Nigeria and offered 4 hours of daily free educational content to vulnerable children, for whom being out of school was very challenging.

Tamima Ibrahim, Head of Content of Switch TV and the youngest woman in the group, emphasized the responsibility that women in leadership positions have when it comes to promoting gender equality.

“Being in my position I am now able to use the responsibility that I have in a way that I can teach those within my teams to understand that we have a very high responsibility as media and for them to be very conscious that when they are preparing the content, they have to take into consideration how women are represented in media,” she said.

This dialogue is the first of a series of conversations taking place this year with SDG Compact members to draw attention to critical areas around sustainable development. If your media organization is interested in becoming a member of the SDG Media Compact, please write to dgccampaigns@un.org.