More and more women have entered journalism in the last 20-30 years and they outnumbering men in journalism education this study seeks to assess the role of education on women in journalism field. Objectives for this study include; to find out why women get involved in the journalism field, what is the role education plays in empowering female journalists, to find out the challenges faced by women in the field of journalism, and lastly to assess the role of the government in promoting women in the field of journalism. Primary data for this study was carried out with the help of questionnaires and a sample of 60 was used. Findings show that education plays a vital role in empowering female journalists. Recommendations such as given women a chance to be educated and trusting women in leadership positions in media houses were made.
1.1 Background of the study
In September 2000, 188 heads of state from around the world signed the Millennium Declaration and established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While most goals aim to achieve significant progress in development by 2015, one goal was to be achieved by 2005 gender parity in primary and secondary education. But, more than 75 countries are likely to miss this goal. We are falling well short of our promise. Women are at the heart of most societies. Regardless of whether they are working or not, mothers are very influential people in children's lives. Educating girls is one of the most important investments that any country can make in its own future. Education has a profound effect on girls' and women's ability to claim other rights and achieve status in society, such as economic independence and political representation. As the following examples demonstrate, having an education can make an enormous difference to a woman's chances of finding well-paid work, raising a healthy family and preventing the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS.
Journalism is changing, as is the role of women in the workplace, but the two are not always evolving in harmony. Women are better educated and encouraged to achieve at work – just as journalism intensifies, jobs become tougher, and the economic pressures become greater. Meanwhile women still continue to shoulder a disproportionate burden in the home (either because society expects it or they want to) which makes things harder to manage if the workplace becomes more demanding. Women substantially outnumber men in journalism training and enter the profession in (slightly) greater numbers, but still today relatively few are rising to senior jobs and the pay gap between male and female journalists remains a stubbornly wide one.
Women's enrolment into journalism education is a significant aspect of broader scholarly studies on women's work in journalism, and women's representation in the media. Golombisky (2002) and others, for instance, have studied women's role and enrolment in journalism education from the perspective of gender equity, gender disparity, gender imbalances, sexual discrimination and sexism embedded in academia.
In addition, an important starting point is the recognition of women's role in the history of journalism education around the world. In the USA, Martha Louis Rayne of Michigan is generally acknowledged in journalism history as a pioneer in establishing journalism education specifically for women in 1886 (Beasley, Observatorio (OBS)* Journal, (2017) Kodwo Jonas Anson Boateng 1201985). However, journalism historians conveniently omit Rayne's role in the development of journalism training and the role of women in journalism. In their paper Women in Journalism Education: the formative period 1908-1930, Beasley and Theus (1988) attempt to trace the antecedents to the feminization of journalism education. In the United States of America, women's issues have often dominated discussions at the same pace as journalism was experiencing professionalization and ‘academization'. In the meantime, all attempts at achieving gender mainstreaming in journalism education through creation of gender-neutral newsrooms have often met with pejorative tags – describing journalism as becoming ‘pink collar ghetto'
(Franks, 2013) or ‘velvet ghetto' (Golombisky, 2002). It is pertinent to note that the issue of feminization of journalism has become indispensable to any general empirical study of journalism education (Nordenstreng, 2009)
Global surveys by Gallagher (1995), Peters (2013), Golombisky (2002), Densem (2006), Becker, Vlad and Olin (2009) all provide statistical evidences of the growing influx of women enrolling into journalism courses (North, 2010). According to Gallagher's 1995 survey of 83 countries, for instance, Africa has shown significant comparative improvement in enrolment of female journalism students. In countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa, male to female journalism student populations are almost at parity. In Egypt and Tunisia, in North Africa, women make up over 80 percent of students studying journalism or mass communication at the University level.
In addition, Gender Links' 2009 audit provides latest figures on the extent of female students in Journalism University in Southern African. According to the Gender Link's report, 60 percent of journalism students are now women. Meanwhile only three out of the 13 countries surveyed Malawi, Swaziland, and Mozambique had more men than women studying journalism (Made, 2009). At the University of Zambia enrolment records indicate that about 56 percent of its first-year students in the mass communication department are female students. The figure increases to 81 per cent female students when students choose their study majors during their third year of study (Nyondo, 2009)
1.1.1 Effects of Education on women in Journalism
In the past, journalism in Cameroon was known to be a thing for men. Men occupied most decision making positions in the journalism field and they were in total control of the media house. This was due to the belief by our forefathers that women shouldn't go to school; instead women got married and bear children for their husbands. Today, women through education are increasingly getting involved in the field of journalism. Thanks to education women are being trained to occupy top positions in the media house. Famous journalists like Mimi Mefo have come up to the lamplight to showcase the brilliance of women in the field of journalism. Education has empowered so many female journalist and sensitized women on gender equality in the field of journalism.
Journalism education will also equip women to tackle the subjugation of women within the newsroom and to shatter glass ceiling and come up in the profession. When women get into the visibility range in media jobs such as decision-makers in the newsroom, they will play a more effective role in setting the agenda in favour of their gender. According to Margaret Gallagher, “Critical Mass of women will have some success in changing the long established media practices, routines and priorities which individual female professionals have been powerless to shift”. A lot many developments are happening in the society today to empower women. This is probably because of the steady increase in the number of women having a decent education but then, the number of women journalists is several folds lesser when compared to the number of women taking up journalism education. This is probably because media jobs are not all those open to women though qualified or because of the societal attitude that looks down upon women entering journalism.
Moreover, preparing women for jobs in journalism will not only increase the number of women in journalism but also change the news content in such a way it is gender sensitive. One way to promote this gender inclusiveness is to impart quality education for women. This is the best way to put women into various jobs in news media and also to get women-sensitive news content. Journalism education would also promote gender sensitivity to propel into journalism women with social consciousness particularly with reference to issues concerning women. Such sensitized women in the media will go a long way to end stereotyping of women in media content. In this context, it is worthwhile looking at how far journalism education is preparing women students to contribute to women empowerment once they get into media jobs. A gender sensitive education as part of journalism education will sensitize the male counterparts undergoing journalism education as well to women issues (nova, nd)
Education is considered as a basic requirement and a fundamental right for the citizens of any nation. Education also reduces inequalities and functions as a means of improving their status within the family. Empowerment and capacity building provides women an avenue to acquire practical information and learning for their improved livelihoods. It is a powerful tool for reducing inequality as it can give people the ability to become independent. Women, who come across discrimination in many spheres, have a particular need for this. Most especially in the field of journalism, education is regarded as an important milestone for women empowerment because it enables them to face the challenges, to confront their traditional role and change their life. Education of women is the most powerful tool of changing their position in the society; it keeps you informed of your rights as a citizen and as a journalist. Information they say, is power, education empowers female journalists to excel in their field of livelihood and also it can lead to increase position and responsibilities. Nevertheless, a large percentage of womenfolk of our country are illiterate, backward, weak, and exploited. If women can be better empowered through education, there will be more women in journalism, Doctors, Lawyers and other Noble professions. These are the backbone of gender differences in many works of life. All this give credence to our study on the effects of education on women in the journalism.
1.3 Research questions
1.3.1 Main Research Question
The main research question for this study is;
What are the effects of education on women in journalism?
1.3.2 Specific research questions include;
Why do women get involved in the journalism field?What role does education play in examining female journalists?What challenges do women face in the journalism field?What is the role of the government in making sure women succeed in this field?
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.4.1 Main research objective
The main research objective for this study is to examine the effects of education on women in journalism
1.4.2 Specific research Objectives
Specific objectives include;
To examine why women, get involved in this fieldTo examine the role education plays in empowering female journalistsTo identify the challenges of faced by women in the journalism fieldTo assess the role of the government in making sure women succeed in this field
THE EFFECTS OF EDUCATION ON WOMEN IN JOURNALISM: THE CASE OF STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BUEA, SOUTH WEST CAMEROON
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