At the Uganda National Journalism Awards gala yesterday, African Centre for Media Excellence recognised the work of two inspiring female journalists; Caroline Ayugi of Daily Monitor and Miriam Watsemba, a freelance Photojournalist.
This year, ACME received a gift from an anonymous donor with the following instruction: celebrate the work of female journalists.
This is a timely and most welcome gift, given the realities of women in the news media. According to ACME’s 2020 profile of journalists, women comprise only an average of 20 per cent of the workforce in newsrooms in Uganda. This is a decline of 7 percentage points from five years before ACME’s mapping study. Not only that, the proportion of women in leadership positions in the news industry is just shy of 3%.
An important aspect of the free press representing the communities they cover means that newsrooms, too, must be representative of our society. It goes without saying that means there must be gender parity in newsrooms. Media managers must provide deliberate pathways to increase the number of female journalists they hire, safeguard them while at work, and provide mentorship and coaching to retain female staff. ACME pledges to be a partner in helping the media achieve this goal.
Today we celebrate two inspiring female journalists. This doesn’t negate the achievements of all shortlisted for this award but shines a light on women doing good work in traditionally male-dominated spaces.
The first Inspiring Female Journalist Award recognizes a reporter’s consistent work covering important public affairs issues in rural Uganda for the past decade. The Award goes to Ms Caroline Ayugi.
The second Inspiring Female Journalist Award celebrates a woman’s excellent growing body of work making waves in a technical beat often dominated by men. For her contribution to the field of photojournalism, the second Inspiring Female Journalism Award goes to Ms Miriam Watsemba.