Absence of women experts voices enforcing a harmful gender stereotype in Ghana media

Data gathered by the Ghanaian Women Experts project between February and June 2021 shows that men dominate radio and television programs.

Studio of a radio station

The survey found that politicians, lawyers, doctors, university teachers, and other men who called themselves experts and analysts dominated the the platforms and programmes monitored.

Out of the 1,476 experts featured on the six monitored radio and television shows, only 128 of them were female experts, representing just 8.7 per cent of the total number of experts interviewed on all the programmes. While men dominated all the four Breakfast shows monitored, Starr FM’s Morning Starr interviewed more women experts than the rest.

The survey was conducted under the direction of Nana Ama Agyemang Asante and Betty Kamkam-Boadu, both freelance journalists in Accra with support and funding from the City University of London’s Journalism Department.

The six programs surveyed are: Peace FM’s Kookroko, Citi FM’s, Citi Breakfast Show, Starr FM’s Morning Starr, TV3’s Key Points, Joy TV’s PM Express and Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.

Nana Ama said: “The study shows that despite being more than half of the population, 51.2 percent to be exact, Ghanaian women’s voices and expertise remain unacknowledged in the media. Producers argue that the disparity is due to a reluctance on the part of women to appear on shows, but the figures also show that male experts were given more time during interviews than women. It is evident from the data that policies, laws and other national programs are being framed by men for men. The media’s gender gap is not only unfair to women, but it also reinforces harmful and dangerous gender stereotypes.”

Who is an expert?

For this project, an expert is defined as any person interviewed because of their knowledge or authority. Experts include politicians and spokespeople, and professionals. E.g., MPs, local government officials, nurses, teachers, and public relations officers.

Some highlights from the first round of Ghana women experts survey include:

1. Every 12 experts engaged on the selected shows every week, only one of them was a woman.

2. Out of the 1,476 experts interviewed on selected programmes, only 128 were women, representing just 8.7 percent.

3. Male experts were given 149hrs 42mins 28secs while their female counterparts were given 20hrs 17mins 4secs.

4. Morning Starr on Starr FM interviewed the highest number of women experts and the highest number of male experts.

5. Joy SMS recorded the lowest amount of time dedicated to female experts on their show.

6. Joy TV’s PM Express did not interview any female experts in five weeks.

7. Male experts were interviewed on governance, politics, education, finance, energy, forex trading, sports, environmental issues, law, unemployment, legal, freedom of expression, and human rights abuse.

8. Female experts were interviewed on finance and banking, information technology, insurance, gender, human rights, and legal issues.

9. Most female experts who were interviewed were public relations officials or spokespersons of companies.


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