When women come together with a collective intention, magic happens- Phylicia Rashad.
The above quote is accurate as far as journalism is concerned as well. Just as with other industries, the field of journalism was patriarchal for a long time. Although there are significant gains that have been made to reverse this, some newsrooms still give preferential treatment to men. In such newsrooms, all the best, important and dangerous stories are reserved for male journalists leaving little room for female writers to shine.
That is not such good news, but the best news is that there are quite a number of organizations that can help you advance in your career through training, competitions, key awards fellowships, grants and scholarships among other benefits. Here are some of these powerhouses that have worked tirelessly to improve the careers of female journalists who have told stories of many people, thereby changing their lives for the better.
1. Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)
Charity begins at home, and here in Kenya, we have AMWIK which has been instrumental in launching the careers of many women in Kenya. Many female journalists have been members of the organizations since their college days.Established in 1983, the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) is a non-profit membership organization for female journalist and communicators. It comprises of women from different media houses, public relations professionals, independent content producers, journalism students, non –governmental organizations and so on. The organization runs women empowerment programs and trainings as well.
2. FAMEDEV Inter-African Network for Women, Media, Gender
The Inter- Africa Network for Women, Media, Gender Equity and Development-FAMEDEV is a media and communication organization for women and is based in Dakar, Senegal. Founded in 2001, it was for men and women who were engaged information communication and education. The organization is dominated by female members and operates in 22 countries in West and Central Africa.
The organization is devoted to media, gender equity and development in Africa. It uses training of the female journalists, production, and publication of resource kits for advocacy, information, and training. It also uses online radio, Research/Studies, consultancy and promotion of social entrepreneurship to achieve its goals.
3. International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF)
The International Women’s Media Foundation was founded in 1990 by prominent women journalists in the USA. The Washington-based organization is dedicated to the strengthening of the role of women in journalism as it believes that news media all over the world is not representative and free without the equal voice of women. The IWMF celebrates the courage of women journalists who overcome threats and oppression to speak out on global issues.
According to their website, the organization supports its community further develop their on-the-ground reporting skills through training, grants, mentoring, and reporting trips. The IWMF has alumni from different platforms including online and multimedia, broadcast as well as print. They also work as grantees, fellows, and mentors. You will find the alumni all over the world where they are in pursuit of under-reported stories that highlight global issues.
4. The Society of Women Writers and Journalists
The Society of Women Writers and Journalists is based in the United Kingdom and aims to encourage literary achievement to uphold professional standards, promote social contact with other writers and defend the dignity and prestige of the writing profession in its various aspects.
The association was founded in 1894 by Joseph Snell Wood who was a newspaper proprietor. It is currently under the leadership of Ann Widdecombe and is affiliated to other women’s associations all over the world. Its membership fee for women overseas is £40 (sterling). In 2004 the membership of the society was made accessible to men who are published as well. If you are an aspiring writer, you are welcomed to join the association as well.
5. The International Association of Women in radio and Television
The International Association of Women in Radio &Television (IAWRT) is a worldwide organization that was formed by professional women in electronic and allied media to strengthen initiatives that ensure the views and values of women have a central part in programming. Another goal is to advance their impact in media. The organization uses conferences, projects, various activities as well as collaborations with media organizations in its consultative capacity with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
There is also a Kenyan chapter of the organization and has been in operation for the last ten years. Initially, this chapter was only for senior journalists, but this has since changed, and now women from other media houses and organizations are free to join. Rachael Nakitare, a Kenyan woman, head the outfit between 2011and 2015. The Kenyan chapter is headed by Josephine Karani and is quite easy to join as long as you are a female journalist in Kenya. Follow this link to join https://www.iawrt.org/join.