Introduction Workforce Profile Human Resources Policies Gender Policy Editorial Policy Summary Closure The NBC, as national broadcaster and mass communicator, plays a vital role in promoting gender equality. The corporation has realised that valuing equality in broadcasting is not only beneficial from a humanistic, but also from a business point of view because it enables the corporation to access the hitherto under-utilised potential of women. The NBC has come to appreciate that in order for it to survive in an increasingly competitive environment it needs a multi-skilled and diverse workforce that will enable it to respond to the needs of its audiences and consumers quickly and efficiently. Camera Operator Elizabeth David capturing visuals for NBC news. The NBC, in acknowledgement of the fact that certain groups in society, including women, have been discriminated against in terms of career advancement, access to training, resources, opportunities and power, has implemented targeted measures aimed at redressing this situation in the shortest time possible. The corporation’s Affirmative Action Plan is one of these measures aimed at reversing these injustices and gender inequalities. Through its Affirmative Action programs the NBC intends to change its workforce profile in terms of gender on all job levels so as to ensure a more equitable and representative picture of the Namibian society. The NBC furthermore wants to identify and eliminate all disparities and remove all remnants of any discriminatory practices within the NBC. Lighting Assistant Martha Namhadi adjusting lights at an NBC Studio. If one looks at the workforce profile of the corporation (as per the Affirmative Action Report for the period 2008/2009), one will notice that as far as Senior Management is concerned, the NBC has taken major strides in gender balance. At CEO level, the Corporation was blessed to be led by a female Director General, during the period January 2010 to July 2010, a first in the history of the NBC. On board level, women are unfortunately underrepresented, having only two females in a Board consisting of five members. Ms Frieda Shimbuli, served the Corporation as an Acting Board Chairperson untill July 2010, providing much needed strategic direction to the NBC. The number of women on middle management level is significantly lower than that of men. Thus the NBC needs to create more balance in terms of gender on the middle management level. The same applies to the specialized/skilled/senior supervisory level. If one looks at the total workforce, the number of men still outweighs the number of women. (as at July 2009, source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) (as at July 2009, source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) The numerical goals the NBC has set itself for 2010/2011 (in terms of its 3-year corporate Affirmative Plan) are encouraging. The national broadcaster plans to employ 53 additional women as opposed to 22 additional men. This would decrease the gender gap. (2010/2011; source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) (2010/2011; source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) If the NBC were to reach its goals, the workforce profile in 2010/2011 would look as follows: (source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) (source: NBC Affirmative Action Report 2008/2009) When it comes to remuneration, the NBC does not differentiate between men and women. Remuneration is calculated taking the incumbent’s job grade, qualifications and experience into account. Thus, as far as the calculation of pay and employment benefits are concerned, women at the NBC enjoy the same rights as their male counterparts. Franlin Thomas, one of the popular news presenters of the NBC. In 2007, the NBC, embarked on a process to develop a gender policy, as well as action plans that aimed to cover the workplace, as well as editorial and marketing dimensions. Due to various reasons the process could not be completed; however, there was broad consensus within the NBC that women make an important contribution to the diversity of values, culture and experience, that women’s equal representation in decision-making will enhance the corporation ability to fully utilise the potential of all sectors of the workforce and that therefore measures should be implemented to promote equal opportunities at all levels and in all occupational areas. The corporation is currently developing a Framework that will guide the monitoring of gender balance in news items as well as in the newsmakers and contributors used. In March 2010 the Acting Director General of the NBC, signed a wage agreement concluded between the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) and the NBC in which both parties agreed to a number of changes in the conditions of employment. One of these changes was that restrictions regarding paid maternity leave would no longer apply and that maternity leave would be applied in accordance with the terms and conditions contemplated in the Namibian Labour Act 11 of 2007. The wage agreement included favourable changes in the conditions of employment, including maternity leave. Seen in the picture: Ms Yvonne Boois, former Acting NBC Director General and Mr Peter Nevonga, Secretary General of Napwu. The NBC supports the right of women to fair treatment as program-makers or contributors. The national broadcaster also acknowledges that the concerns of female viewers and listeners have to be treated with the same respect and consideration as the concerns of male audiences. However, the formalisation of gender equality in the NBC’s editorial policies and practices is still outstanding. Nonetheless, the concerted efforts of NBC news and program production staff to increase the female representation on the airwaves are noticeable. For example, the production staff of the TV Current Affairs program ‘The Week That Was’ always tries to get a female journalist on its panel. However, the number of female editors who feel comfortable to go on air is limited. The NBC has found five female senior journalists which the producers of ‘The Week That Was’ rotate and invite to the program as often as possible. The discussion program ‘The Week That Was’ is broadcast on Sundays at 18:00. The female journalist in the picture is Brigitte Weidlich of The Namibian. Another current example would be the production of special programs in celebration of the 20th Independence Anniversary of Namibia. During the weeks preceding and following Namibia’s 20th Independence Day on 21 March, the Specialized Programmes: Radio section in collaboration with all the NBC’s radio language services broadcast programmes focussing on the liberation struggle, socio-economic development, the role student movements and trade unions played prior to independence as well as the return of exiled Namibians to their motherland. 20 programs in total were pre-packaged which included a feature on Paulina Nakanyala, a young female PLAN soldier who received a President’s medal for bravery and a 40-minute program on the “Namibian women during the liberation struggle”. The latter was quite evidently well received by the Namibian audiences because a listener sent a congratulatory SMS message to the local English daily “The Namibian” requesting a rebroadcast of the program. Another example of the NBC’s commitment to valuing gender equality in program content is the NBC’s membership of the African Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (ABMP). The ABMP is a historic pan-African partnership of African broadcast companies aimed at reinvigorating and increasing the effectiveness of broadcast programming in combating HIV/AIDS. In terms of this commitment the NBC regularly aired HIV/AIDS messages which focused on gender inequity as a major factor in HIV infection. The NBC is also proud to note that whilst it has a male General Manager in its News & Current Affairs Division, the vast majority of his immediate subordinates are female. The Editor in charge of Television News is Ms Suoma Negumbo, who in June 2009 received a staff performance award, the Editor in charge of TV & Current Affairs is Ms Maria Indongo-Nepaya and the Editor of the Political and Economic Desk is Ms Saima Shaanika. Three strong ladies who decide which stories to cover, who to cover them and when. Ms Maria Indongo-Nepaya recently seen handing over an Excellence Award certificate to Ms Cornelia Mupopiwa for her outstanding work as TV News Reporter. Despite the fact that the majority of editors in the NBC’s newsroom are female, there is still an imbalance both as far as the program-makers and the contributors are concerned. More often than not, women are portrayed in a ‘narrow’ way, reinforcing their perceived role and status in society and far too often female journalists are confined to cover societal issues and stories with human interest or emotional appeal, while most male reporters cover the political and economic stories and sports. The table shows the local topics of the NBC TV News bulletin on Thursday, 8 April 2010, the names of the reporters and sources, as well as the gender of both the program- and news-makers. The graph shows the number of female and male reporters, as well as the number of male and female sources during the NBV TV News bulletin on 8 April 2010 (local news items only). The previous slides clearly show that a lot still needs to be done at the NBC as far as gender balance in program production and content is concerned. However, one also has to take into account that the decision by women journalists on which stories they prefer to cover is sometimes also influenced by their personal interests and talents and not only the general expectations within the Corporation or the Public. In addition, when it comes to the news- makers, the Reporters at the NBC are sometimes faced with a lack of female sources that are both qualified and willing to talk about the subject matter at hand - all the more reason for NBC to complete the process of formalizing gender equality in its policies The NBC is doing quite well as far as gender equality is concerned in the remuneration, selection, recruitment, promotion, training and transfer of staff. Furthermore, the rights of women to execute their work freely and without harassment are guaranteed in terms of the corporation’s Sexual Harassment Policy. The NBC’s Conditions of Employment ensure that women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, are not financially disadvantaged. The NBC is currently working on its Occupational Health & Safety policy, especially with regard to new and expecting mothers The good news is that we can all agree to the fact that women who work hard and have the necessary qualifications can indeed succeed in life. I hereby urge all women in the media industry to continue keeping their heads and knowing that only the sky is the limit. More importantly, I respect men in the media industry, just like myself, who treat their female colleagues with divine respect, the same way the Biblical Jesus treated and died for the Church!