Young female journalists have been urged not to fear working in newsrooms because of issues related to sexual harassment but rather should stand their ground and report such matters when they occur.
This was said by senior female journalists during a two-day mentorship workshop held in the capital over the weekend.
The workshop was organised by Friedrich Naumann Foundation(FNF) and ran under the theme: “Women for Future”.
The key facilitators were Sunday Mail editor Victoria Ruzvidzo, Zimbabwe Independent editor Faith Zaba, Martha Mamombe from ZiFM Radio, veteran photo journalist Anne Mpalume and Bridget Mananavire from Newshawks.
Zaba encouraged young female journalists to work hard and act against sexual harassment as she shared some of the obstacles she faced in the media industry and how she overcame them.
“I am urging you all our young journalists to work hard in order to make a mark. Sexual harassment is something that has been happening for ages and it mostly affects us as women, but what is important is to know how to avoid being sexually harassed, how to stop it and voice up against such bad acts,” she said.
She urged fellow journalists to recognise risk of sexual harassment, record such incidences, keep the evidence ,voice up and break the silence so that perpetrators are brought to book. Participants took turns to share their experiences and it was noted that most women have become reluctant to report cases of this form of abuse as the victims sometimes face hostility from the perpetrators.
During the workshop, Ruzvidzo also spoke about the surviving tool kit in the newsroom.
She said fellow female journalists should hunt for the positives, work hard , be willing to take up challenging beats and not to accept sexual favours at the workplace.
FNF programmes manager Mrs Fungisai Sithole urged female journalists to actively participate in ongoing consultations on the Sexual Harassment Act.
She said as a foundation they are going to expand the programme to male journalists to deal with sexual harassment in a holistic way.
“Sexual harassment does not only affect women but men too and as such we are hoping to expand this project and rope in male journalists.
“This will enable both parties to understand and avoid unwanted behaviours and cultures which make either men or women to feel uncomfortable to work in the newsrooms,” said Mrs Sithole.