• Inclusion ensures that all collaborators and staff bring their whole selves to the workplace, regardless of identity.
• By giving a voice to those who have traditionally been marginalised, we contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of issues.
Embracing gender, equality, diversity and inclusion (GEDI) has become a strategic approach for businesses looking to capture a broader audience and be more representative of the world they operate in.
This is particularly important for newsrooms operating in a landscape that is growing increasingly diverse.
The value of GEDI took centre stage during a learning lab held in Nairobi on January 24 by WAN-IFRA Women in News, an organisation that seeks to drive equality in news media.
The aim? To revolutionise media content by recognising and rectifying unconscious biases, fostering equality and amplifying diverse voices. Embracing GEDI is a commitment to reshaping narratives and building a more inclusive media landscape.
This is a particularly valuable pillar for the media, which is a powerful societal influencer, shaping opinions and perceptions. The Learning Lab, which drew media stakeholders and organisations from across Kenya, emphasised the importance of content that reflects the diversity of our society.
Beyond gender, true inclusivity encompasses various dimensions, such as ethnicity, age, socio-economic background and more. By weaving these elements into stories, newsrooms create a richer, more authentic representation of the society they reflect.
This also feeds into the structure of leadership.
“Look around your leadership group. Do they sound like you, do they look like you, do they have the same cultural background? If yes, shake it up. You do not want to lead a team that creates echo chambers. A team that keeps your blind spots hidden,” said Melanie Walker, the executive director at WAN-IFRA Women in News.
One of the critical discussions cantered around the need to recognise and challenge unconscious biases that often permeate news reporting. Language, framing and storytelling choices can unintentionally marginalise certain people.
The Learning Lab urged media professionals to engage in self-reflection, identifying and addressing biases that may unconsciously seep into their work. This awareness is the first step toward more conscious and inclusive storytelling.
Language, for instance, is a powerful tool that can either reinforce stereotypes or challenge them. Participants discussed the importance of adopting language that is inclusive, respectful, and avoids perpetuating harmful stereotypes. This extends to how individuals are identified, ensuring that news reports are free from discriminatory language.
After all, diversity is not just a checkbox — it's about actively seeking out and amplifying diverse voices. Media houses were encouraged to create platforms that showcase underrepresented perspectives. By giving a voice to those who have traditionally been marginalised, we contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of issues and ensure that a broader range of experiences is heard.
“Inclusion ensures that all collaborators and staff bring their whole selves to the workplace, regardless of identity. Inclusion fosters creativity and innovation by recognising and embracing differences,” said Myra Abdallah, the lead trainer and a senior manager at WAN-IFRA Women in News.
The Learning Lab highlighted the significance of fostering inclusive orgnasational cultures. From recruitment to decision-making processes, embracing diversity at every level is vital.
This not only creates a more vibrant and innovative workplace but also influences the content produced. A commitment to GEDI is not just a responsibility; it is an investment in a media and business landscape that reflects and respects the richness of human experience.