Women in Nigerian News Media: Status, Experiences and Structures.




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This study investigates women journalists’ experience of journalism practice in Nigeria and reviews the structures that moderate those experiences. The thesis employs an ethnographic approach in answering the research questions. An observation of women journalists’ interaction with their colleagues in the newsrooms of two news media organisations were conducted for a total of four weeks, 46 media workers (two HR managers, one production staff, 11 male journalists and 32 female journalists) were interviewed and the staff regulation and policy handbooks of five news organisations were reviewed to understand Nigerian news media organisations’ equality and gender policies. A study grounded in African feminist theory and a phenomenological approach to research; this thesis privileges women journalists’ experiences and is focused primarily on documenting how they experience the news industry in Nigeria. Analysing findings using thematic analysis, the study reveals that women journalists experience various inequalities in the Nigerian news industry. Key findings are that even though more women are increasingly covering the hard beats, women journalists are nonetheless clustered in the soft beats. Contrary to previous evidence, pay equality is in theory but not practice as negotiation, nepotism and gender norms sometimes cause salary differentials for men and women journalists. The non-payment of salaries drives women out of media organisations. Sexual harassment and sexism are rife in Nigerian news companies and many organisations do not have policies and frameworks to address them, the few who handle sexual harassment complaints do so unofficially and off the records. Marriage and motherhood are the dominant factors creating glass ceilings for women journalists working in the Nigerian news media. This study contributes to knowledge by providing original insight into how women experience journalism practice in Nigeria, thus filling a huge gap as the bulk of feminist media research on the gendered nature of media production processes and how women experience the news industry have been on the global North.





Research Institute