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Provincial Newspapers Telegraph

‘Journalists key in portraying women in politics’

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CHINHOYI – WOMEN are often misunderstood and looked down upon in society, and in
a way journalists always have a hand in the uplifting or down playing of women in
politics.
Women have been known for different traditional roles in society – child bearing,
cooking, and doing household chores, in fact, everything that has to do with domestic
work.
Now due to the evolution and the introduction of equality, women are allowed to take on
leadership roles in politics and get the same recognition as the men.
However, it has been discovered that women are not being represented sufficiently
enough by the media industry and this has affected their participation in this year’s
electoral race.
Locally, very few women campaigned to become councillors. About 90 percent of the
councillors are men. Some speculated that it could be because of money but no money
was needed to participate in the councillors’ race.
Nonsikelelo Ngwenya, who is the Provincial Co-ordinator of the Women’s Coalition of
Zimbabwe, gave an example of Sandra Ndebele, who was attacked by the media when
she wanted to become councillor because of her career as a dancer.
Ngwenya made the remarks during an Elections Reporting workshop organised by the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalist (ZUJ) recently. This incident painted a picture of the
media downplaying the candidate instead of writing her as an example that even
women can participate in politics just like men, and in a way this would have been a
story that would have encouraged other women to also participate in politics.
Ngwenya believes that the media has a very important role in educating people about
women’s rights through its content and the role of uniting. But it could also cause
confusion among women, lowering their self-esteem through its content.
“Journalists should change their approach of writing women stories, especially during
elections by setting women in the race as examples in a good way so as to encourage
others who are behind the scenes and believe that they are not worth it as women,” she
said.

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