It Is Tough For Women In Media Mary-Ann Acolatse Speaks

Mary-Ann Acolatse, a female broadcast journalist of high repute, has pointed at an uneven playing field that frustrates the smooth progress of women working in the media, though the situation is unintended.

‘With regard to training and basic job opportunities, the field is levelled for both sexes but when it comes to career progression, certain roles and ownership, there’s cause for alarm,’ Mary-Ann,  Managing News Editor at Starr FM told NEWS-ONE.

I don’t believe that there are deliberate systemic distortions at work targeting women in the media to remain out or at the base of the profession. But the general patriarchal settings that construct economic, social and professional power relations perpetuate the evil cycle of marginalising women at all levels. This phenomenon cuts across all sectors or industries.

‘It is an open secret that women in the media, just as other industries, earn lesser than their male counterparts of same rank or pedigree. Women in the media hardly occupy high and powerful positions at the top. It’s just a few brave ones who often do so at the peril of  their marital or social lives….whereas many remain at the bottom or can hardly see a natural progression to the top through merit unless through the  difficult and sometimes less dignifying back door negotiations,’ Ms Acolatse explained further.

She continued: ‘You can scan around and see the evidence abound. We have a tall list of radio, TV and newspaper operations in the country but how many women do we have in these organisations leading as managing editors or chief editors, news directors, managing directors, CEOs or owners of media properties.’

Currently, she is the Group Managing Editor of EIB Network, operators of Starr FM, Live FM, Kasapa FM, Ultimate FM, Agoo FM, Empire FM and Daily Heritage newspaper.

Mary-Ann has also worked at TV3 as Director of News and Current Affairs and held top managerial positions at Joy FM, Multi TV and Metro TV.

In the interview with NEWS-ONE, Mary-Ann said her experience in the media has taught her  it is a tough job at the top for women  because ‘ the fine skill set required  to drive excellence and profitability in a competitive market with   limited  pool of compelling talents can be daunting.’

She posited, The nation stands to benefit hugely when the space is freed up for more women in the media to be seen and heard as powerful voices of influence, not just as sexual objects adorning newspaper front pages and television screens.’

She said ‘women as decision makers—editors, managers, media owners, etc—will significantly lift the calibre of media practice to the standards we aspire to have as a country.

‘Though there are exceptions to the rule, I  believe  women’s natural disposition tilt to nurturing, caring and calculating in their actions and impacts and therefore women are less likely to run amok in what I term ‘adventure journalism’. When sensational and serious content  share  same commercial value, women will still invest in programming that supports nation building and rich public life than riotous publications  and broadcast aiming mainly to sell at all cost damn the  consequences.’

Mary-Ann holds a Masters degree in Journalism from the Cardiff University in the UK under British government’s chevening scholarship programme and an Executive MBA in Marketing from the University of Ghana Business School.


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