• The training seeks to equip women journalist and editors with skills to lead and transform their organization.
• Various speakers during the launch underscored the need and importance of getting women into leadership positions in Africa's newsroom.
Women In News launched a coaching session for women journalists across Africa as talks of empowerment took centre stage.
A total of 180 women (media practitioners) from 10 African countries are set to benefit from the leadership accelerator program that will run for nine months.
The countries include Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The training, according to WIN Africa Director Jane Godia, seeks to equip women journalists and editors with skills to lead and transform their organization.
Godia noted that they have doubled the number of participants in the programme this year after they received a record number of applications.
Speaking during the launch of the WAN-IFRA Women In News on Thursday evening, she noted that the 2022 cohort will be equipped with the skills, tools and network they need to make an impact in their newsrooms.
Various speakers during the launch underscored the need and importance of getting women into leadership positions in Africa's newsroom.
The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services in Zimbabwe Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, however, raised various pertinent issues from low pay grade, slow and low progression to leadership positions, sexual harassment, saying they were still a hindrance for women in the industry and work must be done to eliminate it.
Mutsvangwa said it is extremely discouraging that men hold more than 70 per cent of newsroom management jobs in the majority of countries, while female journalists hold only 27 per cent.
"I'm informed that in the next 9 months, you will go through an intensive course that covers actual leadership and management situations that affect newsrooms. I, therefore, urge all of you all to distinguish yourselves in this very-sought-after initiative by Women in News," Mutsvangwa said.
"Use this chance to develop into the phenomenal female media practitioners you are destined to be and hope you will all leave the course more empowered to make a difference in your media spaces."
She also encouraged media organisations to actively provide the necessary support and training to retain and advance female media workers to C-suite positions.
WIN Executive Director Melanie Walker however noted that from their cohort last year alone, 36% reported getting a promotion within three to six months of completing the programme.
"We also recorded 22% receiving a salary raise despite the incredibly difficult times for this industry and additionally, 27% were given more responsibilities and 40% made a career move of their choosing," she said.
She noted that this meant the programme increased women’s impact in the media industry, and they are excited to see what the 2022 cohort will do.
“You get out of this programme what you put into it,” Walker told the 2022 class.
The accelerator uses training, coaching, mentoring and networking to enable participants to reach their full potential and take on the challenges facing the media industry.
Currently, WIN is working to address many of the challenges that face newsrooms in the countries it operates across Africa, the Arab region and Southeast Asia. It does this in partnership with more than 80 media organisations.