GENDER BIAS:No representation, Equal but separate- segregation, the two faces of the struggle: y Gurra Dimae

Gender Bias: No representation, Equal but separate- segregation, the two faces of the struggle: By Gurraa Diime

The contribution of OMN in informing the public, reporting events on the ground and analyzing the political, social and economic situation in the country is nothing but impressive. Being the face and the voice of the Oromo people, I critically evaluate the visualization of the Oromo struggle by OMN through the lens of a woman. While women constitute half of the population and are active participants in the struggle for freedom, the voice and the faces presented on the Media are biased against them.

In this summary, I will focus on two programs run by OMN specifically Qophii Xiinxala and Gaaddisa RAABAA DOORII.
Qophii Xiinxalaa (Onk 10,2014 – Onk 14, 2016).

In the two year period the program aired 72 episodes. In all but two of the 72 episodes men (both individually or a group of men) analyze the political, social, legal and economic situation of the country. The face of political analysis on OMN Qophii Xiinxalaa program is men as if there are no women who can contribute to the political discourse. Women are not represented in the program and their contribution and experience in the political struggle is totally ignored.

On the other hand, the two episodes- Sada 21, 2014 with Najat Hamza and Mudde 26, 2014 with Salihaa Sami- reminds us equal but separate issues (segregation) in the political discourse. Najat was discussing issue in relation to Justice for Hannaa while Salihaa is Artists’ contribution and discussion with the government.

For those of us who are following the new development in the country, the blatant gender bias is troubling. Najat, who articulated extremely well Oromo issues on Aljezerra –with Ethiopian Communication minister and Professor Merea Gudina- is able and willing to sit at the discussion table with all the other 70 participants over the last two years and engage not only her colleagues at the table but also inspire the young girls who are struggling with their brothers on the streets of Oromia today.

This program aired a total of 19 episodes (Ado 24, 2016- Onk 19, 2016) of which only one includes women. While the program focuses on the political, social and political struggle of the people, the voice of women is ignored or silenced in the program. When one episode on Onk 14, 2016 is run, it is exclusively women (equal but separate- segregation). What makes it troubling is the issues discussed which women’s contribution is during the protest and women’s lower representation on media. It gives the impression that women’s domain in the media is restricted to women’s issues.

The following pictures reveal the face of the struggle on the ground contrary to the face of the struggle on Media.

Through it all, women and girls are right on the face and center of the struggle. Would not it be our responsibility as leaders, commentators and political analysists to be aware and cognizant of our bias and try our individual best to be more inclusive? Ask yourself what you can do to change and maybe you will be brave enough to adopt or demand a bold move like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who appointed gender-balanced Cabinet that “looks like Canada”. When asked why he takes such a bold move, his response was “Because it is 2015”.

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