BY LORRAINE MUROMO/VANESSA GONYE
Local female journalists have called on media houses to implement policies that safeguard them from work-related sexual harassment.
This came out during a recent workshop held in the capital, facilitated by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF Africa) with the aim of capacitating female journalists to break the proverbial glass ceiling and use social media platforms to build their professional files.
Zimbabwe Independent editor Faith Zaba, who was one of the facilitators, said the workshop objectives included equipping young women with newsroom skills so that they could later assume positions of authority within news organisations.
“Some of us have 29 years experience in the newsroom and we feel that it is now time to share our experiences with young female journalists through this mentorship programme. We are teaching them how to survive in the newsroom, brand themselves and how to deal with sexual harassment at work and by sources,” she said.
“Sexual harassment has destroyed someone’s career, and there have been instances where women have quit as they could not handle what they went through because it was traumatic. We will also engage different media organisations to see what can be done to ensure this ends.”
Zaba said a lot of companies had sexual harassment policies, but were reluctant to implement them.
Sunday Mail editor Victoria Ruzvidzo said young women should trust their fellow senior female journalists in order to be assisted whenever they felt abused.
“The problem that we often encounter is that the victims do not approach us for help, and sometimes we even hear stories of female abuse coming from higher offices. Victims need to trust the process and follow protocol, the system might fail you but do what needs to be done,” she said.
ZiFM senior reporter and news anchor Martha Mamombe said females were looked down upon to the extent that they ended up working twice as hard in order to earn the respect they deserved.
Participants took turns to share their experiences in newsrooms, where they pointed out that most victims of sexual violence are scared to report the cases as they feared reprisals from the perpetrators.
As a result, they said the experiences were forcing them to consider careers outside the newsroom.
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