Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Vodacom Women in The Media Awards 2007

The Vodacom Women in The Media Awards 2007, held yesterday in Johannesburg, reminded me why we need to encourage girls to take up media careers.

Speaking at the event, Vodacom chief communications officer Dot Field cited an international study which found that women account for 17% of all media coverage. The majority of the coverage is celebrity and royalty-related, she said.

The women who attended the event, who included a number of journalists, editors, media advocates etc, have a responsibility to make sure that barriers in the media industry are broken down and more girls succeed in the media industry, she said.

Patricia Scholtemeyer, CEO of Media24 Magazines and winner of the 2007 Vodacom Women in The Media Award said the ability to read critically is very important in enabling girls to grow to be influential women. Reading critically is a critical element in people's ability to think for themselves, she said.

I sat next to veteran journalist Joyce Sikhakhane, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. A self-taught journalist, Joyce played an influential role in the history of the South African media, inspiring a generation through the courage of her writing.

We chatted about a number of things including war and the capacity of women to fight for their homes/what they believe in until the bitter end. A war is not over until the women are dead and their bodies are empty husks, she said. [ she said it was a quote from a book, but I did not write the title down.]

Siki Mgabadeli, editor of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Television’s business and economics desk won the Vodacom Rising Star Award. She’s 28, and manages a team of 14 journalists and producers. The news team caters for 3 TV stations. Now there's a young woman I wouldn't mind Baby emulating if she had a mind to do TV news.

The award is in its fifth year, and is offered by The Media ( a monthly magazine), which part of the Iconic Group. The Iconic Group has interests in publishing, advertising, PR and graphic design, and the company is also owned by a woman.

August in National Women's Month, so I expect many of my posts will be about honouring successful women and/strategies to empower girls.

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