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Female journos in SA and Nigerian suffer sexual harassment in newsrooms but don’t report it, says new study

With 90% of South African and Nigerian women suffering crippling sexual harassment in the media industry not reporting the abuse, this reveals the extent of sexism in the sector. File Picture

With 90% of South African and Nigerian women suffering crippling sexual harassment in the media industry not reporting the abuse, this reveals the extent of sexism in the sector. File Picture

Published Sep 10, 2020

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With 90% of South African and Nigerian women suffering crippling sexual harassment in the media industry not reporting the abuse, this reveals the extent of sexism in the sector.

These assertions are findings contained in a recently-released study conducted by academics from the City, University of London, which found that 57.5% of South African women and 38% of women from Nigeria had experienced sexual harassment in the respective countries’ newsrooms.

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The multi-documented report, compiled by Dr Lindsey Blumell, PhD, and Dinfin Mulupi, interviewed 136 news professionals in 2018, with 9% of respondents detailing that they had been sexually abused at least five times at their places of work.

What was shocking was that in South Africa, 62.9% of men said they had witnessed sexual harassment on women without reporting it.

This explains the 90% of women from both countries saying they had not reported the abuse “out of fear of retaliation from their organisations or their perpetrators”.

Mulupi, who is pursuing a PhD at the University of Maryland in the US, told The Star that her study indicated “widespread sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the media workplace in South Africa and Nigeria”.

“We hope that these findings and data will clarify the extent of the problem of sexism and sexual harassment in the media workplace and the responsibility for organisations to create a safe working environment for their staff members.

“We would like as many people as possible in the industry to be informed on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the media workplace and ways to eradicate the same,” Mulupi said.

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Harassment from fellow employees affected 19.3% of women in Nigeria and 21.2% in South Africa. Direct supervisors accounted for 9.5% of abuse in Nigeria and 2.5% in South Africa. Shockingly, 50% of South African respondents said the harassment they endured was from higher management structures, against 9.7% of Nigerian women.

Solutions from participants mainly focused on promoting more women to managerial positions and newsroom training.

The Star

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