Kenyan media powerhouse commits to new partnership for women's empowerment

Standard Group, one of Kenya's largest multi-media outlets, has committed itself to the gender equality movement by signing the UN Women Media Compact.

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Kenyan media powerhouse commits to new partnership for women's empowerment
The standard Media PLC Chief Executive Officer Mr Orlando Lyomu (Left)  and UN Women Kenya Country Director Anna Mutavati (Right) after the Media house committed to be part of the Step it up for gender equality media compact. Photo: Standard.

The Media Compact seeks to accelerate gender equality by providing a framework for media houses to strengthen gender-sensitive reporting and disrupt harmful stereotypes and biases that the industry often perpetuates. Standard Group reaches millions of Kenyans on a daily basis and as a signatory to the compact, will promote gender equality and support the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

While media outlets define for themselves how best to implement the partnership, there are a number of priority areas including championing women's rights through editorial coverage; gender-responsive decision-making; as well as orientation and training of staff.

Standard Group CEO Orland Lyomu says that the new partnership is about taking the organisations internal as well using its influence to shift the country's depiction of women:

“We are indeed pleased to join our media counterparts from all over the world in supporting the call of the UN Women Media Compact. Today we commit ourselves to continue this journey through our journalistic work; having women as sources in our stories across diverse subjects including business technology and science; adopting a gender-sensitive code of conduct for reporting; providing equal opportunities for female reporters and encourage our male journalists to cover gender issue”

Standard Group has already implemented several initiatives to strengthen the role of women within the organisation. In 2018, the Standard Group Women's Network was created after a company survey revealed the majority of female staff had a lower engagement index and felt excluded. The network aims at improving the welfare of its female staff, their career progression and boosts their leadership skills through training and mentorship.

Women are underrepresented and misrepresented in the media, portrayed in stereotypical ways, and depicted to emphasize traditional roles and normalize violence against women.  Underrepresentation falsely assigns men as the cultural 'standard'. UN Women Kenya Representative Anna Mutavati spoke during the signing event, reiterating the importance of the media to gender equality:

"The Kenyan media has the potential to be an enabler of faster, more substantive gender equality and women’s empowerment, or a barrier to it. Gender discrimination deprives media coverage of the balance and authority that diverse perspectives bring."

Standard Group is one of Kenya's largest multi-media outfits spanning print, television, radio and digital with popular platforms including the KTN television network, The Standard newspaper and Vybez and Spice Radio.