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Female journalists in validation workshop on gender

By Atimaku Joan

Female Journalists Association (FJA) with support from the Norwegian People’s Aid conducted a validation workshop on gender policy in Juba.

In a document extended to Juba Monitor, South Sudan first UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

the Labour Act entitles one to a 90-day maternity leave, 45 days for breastfeeding while working for half day and the guarantee of retaining a job position after returning from leave.

But the document stated that the challenges faced by the Government and some parts of the country is that manifestation of discrimination against women remained as core concern.

The document revealed thatthe purpose of the validation policy as the first step to removing the structural and program challenges that affect women in the area of the media, despite the various interventions and laws enacted to secure gender equality.

“South Sudan’s media is losing out on women audiences. Some 73 percent of men use radio as their primary source of information, but only 37 percent of women do the same (Oxfam, 2017). Women’s lack of access to resources might be a contributory factor, for example, where people use phones to access radio because more men than women have phones at a rate of 73.4 men and 26.6 percent women (Internews, 2021). Thus, equipping more women with phones could shift women’s access to information and the internet as well as potentially shifting gender power dynamics in important ways (Internews, 2021),” noted.

It also revealed that overwhelming anecdotal evidence and qualitative interviews suggested that women audiences were kept away from the media as the media content does not reflect women’s voices and issues.

“Traditional gender roles and social norms deepens gender inequality, particularly around girls’ education, restrictions of their mobility, limited decision-making power, and lack of access and comfort over resources,”the document indicated.

There are very few women in positions of authority in the community and those who do occupy such positions are not perceived as having much power or influence.

Women often have to Walk long distances to collect water, carrying heavy containers, affecting their health, making them vulnerable to all forms of GBV and harassment, increasing their workload and placing excessive demands on their time.

Child marriage is deeply rooted in customary and religious traditions and patriarchal cultures as polygamous relationships reinforce women’s subordinate status and are tied to other forms of violence.

Dowry ensures that marriages remain intact, even if the girl or woman experiences abuse, hence  65 per cent of women and girls have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes among the highest rates in the world.

Women survivors generally do not speak of GBV for many reasons, including seIf-blames, fear of reprisals, mistrust of authorities, and risk of re-victimization.

Women also suffer great food insecurity due to their cultural and social roles as caregivers, so they may refuse food or pass on food within families.

The conscious or unconscious biases that many media professionals, both men and women, sometimes have towards one-sidedly reductionist masculine perspectives is partially due to the lack of capacity to report on women and gender more broadly.

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