Introduction

This project seeks to increase the influence of women leaders through the media, using women’s positive public images and profiles to mobilise participation and increase influence.

The project is premised on the fact that equal participation in leadership for women is one of the key ways of protecting women’s human rights and advancing substantive gender equality – ensuring that women’s experiences are fully integrated in the socio-political sphere, which directly impacts the socioeconomic sphere. The right to participate in leadership is important in empowering individuals and groups in order to end marginalisation and discrimination.

In Zambia, leadership is a male dominated-arena both in terms of numbers of people holding decision-making positions at various levels of society. The gender disparity in leadership creates difficulty for women to thrive as they compete with men (who are already dominating), but they also have to deal with the deep-rooted beliefs and attitude that leadership is for men.

The negative deep-rooted beliefs and stereotypes against women leadership undermine women’s influence in society. These stereotypes are seen in public communication where male leaders and decision-makers enjoy a lot more positive visibility whereas women leaders rarely get recognised positively, their contributions and achievements are under-recognised. Mostly women leaders receive negative and sexist visibility. In addition, there are existing gender disparities in access to media and other visibility platforms which favour male leaders and decision-makers. This situation exacerbates the stereotypes against female leaders as there are limited platforms through which to address them.

Funder: Hivos Southern Africa

Project Goal

To increase the participation and influence of women leaders in shaping public opinion on political and societal developments.

Project Objectives

The purpose of this project is to increase the positive public image, credibility and visibility of women leaders in Zambia. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Use media to challenge political systems and structures that marginalise women;
  2. Increase positive images of women leaders and women’s voices in the public media;
  3. To increase the use of social media platforms and creative arts to stimulate positive debates on women leadership and influence;
  4. To build capacity of the media and the creative sector in promoting women leadership;
  5. To increase generation and use of research evidence in championing the relevance of women leadership.

Activities

In this project, PSAf uses the following approaches: 

  1. Monthly media monitoring/content analysis on the coverage of women leadership
  2. Media Training of electronic (Radio, TV, Online) and print media personnel on the value of women leadership and how media can promote it
  3. Media fellowships to facilitate critical journalism and positive coverage of women leaders and women issues
  4. Social Media platforms for profiling women leaders and stimulating debate on women leadership issues.
  5. Theatre arts and community based cultural music on women leadership
  6. Interactive radio programmes to challenge systems and structures that marginalise women.
  7. Development of media briefs and other reference materials for journalists and other communicators.
  8. Interface meetings between media and female politicians;