• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Inspiring Inclusion: A spotlight on gender-balanced newsroom, Legit.ng example

Inspiring Inclusion: A spotlight on gender-balanced newsroom, Legit.ng example

Nigeria’s media landscape, mirroring a global trend, grapples with a significant gender imbalance within newsrooms. Despite strides made in journalism, a critical examination reveals a disproportionate representation of women in decision-making roles and a pervasive gender gap in opportunities for career growth. This imbalance not only hampers diversity of perspectives but also perpetuates stereotypes, hindering the media industry’s ability to authentically reflect the multifaceted nature of society.

On women under-representation in leadership positions, the continuous lack of female voices at the helm hampers the formulation of editorial policies and decision-making processes, consequently influencing the tone and direction of news narratives.

Globally, gender pay gaps persist, and Nigeria’s media landscape is no exception. Female journalists often face disparities in remuneration compared to their male counterparts, reflecting systemic issues that limit financial equality within the industry.

A comparative analysis with global media landscapes reveals similar gender imbalances. Further research however showed that countries with more equitable gender representation in newsrooms tend to produce richer, more nuanced content that resonates with diverse audiences. Nigeria’s media industry could benefit from emulating successful strategies implemented elsewhere.

Legit.ng recognizes the imperative need for diversity, not just in content but also within its own team. The media landscape’s influence is profound, and Legit.ng aims to reflect the richness of perspectives by fostering an environment that values and champions gender balance.

In celebration of the 2024 International Women’s Day, Legit.ng, a digital media company in Nigeria, has embarked on a mission to inspire inclusivity through the cultivation of a gender-balanced workforce and newsroom. Certain examples demonstrate the diversity of the media company and how it has helped to build dreams and make careers for lots of women who never thought they stood a chance in a field where all journalists regardless of their gender are referred to as ‘gentlemen of the press’, including that of its first female Head of Desk for a news beat where men mostly thrived in the past – the entertainment desk.

Here are some of Legit.ng’s solution to leveling the playing field in the media industry:-

Leadership Commitment: In the past eleven years, Legit.ng’s leadership demonstrated unwavering commitment to inclusivity. The media company set clear goals for achieving gender balance and initiated policies that promote equal opportunities for all employees.

Recruitment Reforms: The company revamped its recruitment processes, focusing on eliminating biases and ensuring equal consideration for candidates regardless of gender. This resulted in a more diverse pool of talents joining the organization. On every news desk in Legit.ng, women make up about 50% of the team, and have a seat at the leadership table within the organization. Also, payment in Legit.ng isn’t subject to gender type or gender roles.

Training and Development: Legit.ng invested in training programs that addressed unconscious biases and provided resources for career development, ensuring that both male and female employees had equal opportunities for growth.

Flexible Work Policies: Recognizing the challenges faced by many women in balancing work and family life, Legit.ng introduced flexible work policies. This hybrid and fully remote option of working empowered employees to manage their responsibilities effectively, contributing to a healthier work-life balance.

Head of Department, Entertainment Desk, Legit.ng Olusola Sanusi’s narrative of how this happens is intricately woven into Legit.ng’s commitment to inclusivity, exemplifying the success of a gender-balanced newsroom. Legit.ng, through strategic reforms and supportive policies, not only enhances its workplace culture but also contributes to shaping a more diverse and equitable media landscape. Her story serves as a guiding light for other media organizations aiming to embrace inclusivity in commemoration of International Women’s Day.

Thanks to Legit.ng, Olusola is redefining journalism as a 21st century woman, wife, mum and boss lady. She leads a team of editors who are very familiar with Nigeria’s entertainment terrain, and their audience is forever grateful for the exciting and unique reporting skills they bring to their news stories.

Olusola who once grappled with realities of the gender imbalance, had experienced her own share of inequality. From gender divide to pay disparity, she shared how her career started off slow due to gender-imposed stereotypes from colleagues and business heads who thought she should be limited to gender-specific tasks.

“When I was switching from print media to digital, a colleague told me I couldn’t cope, and I told him bluntly that some people are doing it, so if they can, I can too. Here I am, still waxing stronger. I believe if anyone can, then I can do it too,” she says.

A strong believer of excellence and breaking the barriers, Olusola believes that as long as there is no gender disparity in studying one’s choice programme in tertiary institutions, then women shouldn’t be deterred from doing the things that men do in the media.

For Olusola, joining a forward thinking media organization like Legit.ng was a turning point for her career. Not only did she get to do all she couldn’t do at the start of her career, she also rose through the ranks, becoming the first female head of department of a news desk previously known to belong to men. Her ascension opened the door for many other female editors who desired to take up a spot on the entertainment news desk team, many of whom have gone on to stay with the company for more than four years, constantly growing and expanding their skill set.

“Another defining moment for me in this career was becoming the head of my team. I even went ahead to win awards for my managerial skills. Nothing beats that,” she says.

In her journey to becoming, Olusola shattered restraining ceilings and doors, won awards and proud nominations, and she continues to contribute expert knowledge in the media and on the entertainment scenes.

Impact of Legit.ng’s inclusion strategy

Content Diversification: A gender-balanced newsroom led to more diverse and inclusive content. Legit.ng’s reporting now reflects a broader range of perspectives, resonating with a wider audience.

Employee Satisfaction: The implementation of inclusivity measures resulted in increased employee satisfaction. Both male and female employees reported feeling valued and recognized for their contributions.

Employee Advocacy: Legit.ng’s employees rate the company 10 (being the highest on the scale), for commitment to gender balance within the media industry. They ascertain that they would choose to work with the company over again due to this.

Legit.ng’s dedication to building a gender-balanced newsroom not only aligns with the ethos of International Women’s Day but also serves as a beacon for other media organizations. By championing inclusivity, Legit.ng has not only enhanced its own workplace culture but also contributed to shaping a more diverse and equitable media landscape.


Oluwaseyi is a PR and Media Consultant