Bosco Mutambira




In the contemporary world, inequality between women and men in the work place is becoming a critical issue. The low representation of women within the management and leadership of FM radio stations of Uganda has attracted less attention by researchers, feminists and civil society organizations. Many have put their emphasis on talking, writing and researching about the portrayal of women in the media. Yet, inequalities in management of the radio stations are evident. Female radio workers face limitations and restrictions to progressing to higher positions of leadership compared to their male counterparts in radio stations. The study’s broad objective was to examine the gender representation in the leadership of Ugandan FM radio stations with CBS FM, Capital FM and Radio One as case studies.

Specifically, the study set out to establish the factors responsible for the unequally positioned gender in radio leadership and to investigate whether Ugandan radio management has put in place gender sensitive practices for promotion. The study also analyzed as an objective the benefits of having a more gender balanced management of radio stations.

A multiple case study research design was employed in this study. Data was collected from 100 respondents using purposive and snow- ball sampling methods. In-depths and semi-structured interviews were used as qualitative data collection methods. Questionnaires were also used to reach conclusions on women and men’s representation in senior leadership positions in the Ugandan radios. The study established that a growing number of women are making initiatives to get promoted, have aspired for leadership positions on the same terms as men but many are confronted by a set of obstacles such as gender stereotypes. It is therefore imperative to understand the basic biases and factors which deter most female radio workers from reaching their goals and creating inequality in radio industry a field which is still being dominated by men.


1.0 Introduction

In the mid-1970s, two major issues- the status of women and the status of communication and information for women became focal points for international debate. The international women’s conference held in Mexico City in 1975 launched the United Nations (UN) Decade for women. The world plan of action adopted at the 1975 Mexico City conference highlighted women’s lack of control over or even access to communication channels as both a symptom and a cause of their disadvantaged status globally (Mansell 2011). It also highlighted that there exist gender inequalities in information and communication and argued that women’s rights to freedom of expression and information is caused by structural, economic and cultural constraints (Made 2004: 48). It generally looked at a lack of attention to “gross gender disparities in the media” (Mansell 2011).

In 1979, the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was held. This was a major landmark, following the conference held in Mexico (1975). The 1979 convention secured a pledge from states to develop policies, legal frameworks and other measures to abolish all forms of discrimination against women in every aspect of their lives including female media workers’ careers. Other United Nations conferences on women were held in Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1995) and New York (2000) in which the overall concern was to improve women’s status and find solutions to the problems of inequality and social injustice which women are subjected to. The “Fourth World Conference on Women” held in Beijing in 1995 noted that more women were involved in careers in the communication sector since the early 1990s, but few have attained positions at the decision-making level or serve on governing boards and bodies that influence policy.  It stated that, “the lack of gender sensitivity in the media is evidenced by the failure to eliminate the gender- based stereotyping that can be found in public and private, local, national and international media organizations” (Beijing Platform for Action, Section J 133).

With so many men in decision making positions, it is not easy for women to gain the opportunities to make their mark. Women are largely absent in official commissions, boards or committees created for formulating policies or monitoring the media. Most are actually to be found in administrative jobs such as secretaries and junior management posts rather than in the production and editorial senior posts associated with the creation and development of media output (De Matteo 1994).

Radio in Uganda was started in 1954 by the British government in response to a perceived rise in political consciousness among the peoples of Uganda (Monica 2010). The purpose for establishing radio at that time included providing entertainment, particularly for the British nationals, easing communication between the colonial government and their home government in Britain and propagating colonial policies among the natives. However, there was only a handful of Ugandans employed by the broadcasting service, mostly in non-editorial roles. At this point in Uganda’s history, therefore, though radio served as a political space, it was one that was largely inaccessible to the “native” men and women as media workers. The few Ugandans who worked for the broadcast media were men who had been trained by the British in the United Kingdom. Ugandan women in that era had limited or no education, access to information and training, lacked the ‘technical-know- how’ (knowledge of doing things) and ‘technical- know- who’ (having network connection).

In the eyes of colonial authorities, African women were backward, childish and irrational (Sahle 2008). British colonial policies were gender- blind and as such did not cater for equality of men and women within the media. Colonial rulers in Uganda came along with Victorian ideas of keeping women in the domestic sphere, doing household chores while men were being prepared to become leaders in the Ugandan media to replace the British (Sahle 2008). According to (Sahle 2008), women could therefore not contribute to the emerging modern technological sector of the radio industry. These constraints kept Ugandan women far away from the public and decision making realm of radio production. This, too, meant that broadcasting favored men in terms of employment and if women were employed, they were left to do work that was considered “feminine”.

The number of radio stations increased from only one state-owned channel, Radio Uganda, to several FM radio stations (Nassanga 2007). Several players including businessmen, non-governmental organizations (NGOS), churches, foreign donors and Ugandans living abroad, have started or funded numerous FM stations. The increase in the number of radio stations is mainly a result of the forces of globalization, especially liberalization, privatization and the free market economy touted by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral institutions since the late 1980s.

The first commercial private FM radio (Sanyu FM) came on air in December 1993 (Mutabazi, 2004; Buckley, 2000). Other radio stations included; Capital FM opened in 1994, Central Broadcasting Service (CBS FM) in 1996, Monitor FM now KFM in 2001 and many others. Leadership of the newly opened FM stations was largely male dominated. With the exception of Radio One opened in 1997 and Akaboozi ku bbiri in 2001 (owned by Maria Kiwanuka), owners and managers of the various radio stations mentioned above are all men. Sanyu FM was managed by the Katto family now owned by Sudhir Ruparelia; Capital FM had manager Patrick Quarcoo while CBS FM, a Buganda kingdom radio station, was managed by Owekitiibwa Kaaya Kavuma and Owekitiibwa Sebaana Kizito (The Observer Sunday, 29 May 2011).

1.1 The position of women in the radio leadership

Most women in Ugandan radios are employed as front desk officers, cleaners, switchboard operators and news anchors. On the other hand, men are the heads of various departments and dominate decision making processes in the radio. This picture fairly points to the marginalized placing of women in the commanding heights or echelons of leadership, decision making and policy formulation processes in radios.

Gender inequalities in radio leadership in Uganda could have been influenced by the distinct traditional gender roles among Ugandan societies, which are actual or shareholders of some of these radios. For example, in Buganda, men are authoritative, and are expected to be responsible for their families. They take the final decisions in the home and family. Women, on the other hand, are care givers, implementers of their husbands’ wishes, counselors and responsible for the performance of day to day running of domestic chores. Women are also expected to be provided for by their husbands in every sphere of life (financial and material support). Young girls and boys undergo separate cultural grooming to mould them into these roles (The Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (2009). These deep-seated inequalities accompanied by stereotypical myths and prejudicial attitudes about women’s competencies as senior managers are barriers that impact on their rising to top positions in some radios (Gender Equity Team GETT 1997:195).

Despite the general imbalance described above, a few radios such as Capital FM and Radio One seem to advocate for equality but in general the number of women working in the Ugandan radios is not proportionate to their representation in senior leadership positions and it is far below that of their male counterparts.

1.2 Problem statement

Despite the fact that women in Uganda have been employed by various radio stations, gender segregation is still common and well maintained by their male counterparts by limiting their progression to top leadership. For example, some radios follow a paternalistic culture where a person is promoted based on their gender, instead of their work performance, stereotypes and pre-concepts about women’s suitability of leadership positions. Stereotypes leads to higher stress levels among women than men because it pressures women to work harder and perform better than their male counterparts in order to prove themselves equal to them. This hinders a number of women from accessing senior management positions that are mostly occupied by men.  Although imagery and representation have received some attention from researchers and feminists, little has been done to correct the bias, the under-representation of women still persists in the leadership of FM radio stations. It is therefore in the light of this situation that this study was designed to investigate the root causes of women’s under-representation in FM radio leadership in Uganda. The study addressed the extent to which socio-economic, political and cultural factors lead to gender inequity in FM radio leadership in Uganda.

1.3 General objective

The main objective of this study was to gain an understanding of why there is an imbalance in the representation of women and men in the leadership of Uganda’s FM radio stations.

1.4 Specific objectives

  1. To examine how women and men are represented in the leadership of Ugandan FM radio stations.
  2. To establish the factors responsible for the positioning of the different genders in the leadership of Ugandan FM radio stations.
  3. To investigate whether leadership of Ugandan FM radio stations has put in place gender sensitive practices for its employees.
  4. To analyze the benefits of having a more gender balanced leadership of radio stations.

1.5 Research questions

  1. Is identifying and promoting female talent a top priority for your managing director, general manager and the board?
  2. In your view, what are the characteristics for selection/promotion of workers in radios?
  3. Is there any woman in management in your radio? If not what might be the reason for women’s absence?
  4. What can bring women to the board?
  5. How do you feel about getting actively involved in promoting women in radios?

1.6 Significance of the study

Radio employers can use this study to identify and address systematic discrimination by examining organizational culture which entails the policies, practices and decision making processes. This can be done by compiling information on recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention broken down by sex.  This can help them know whether women and men are advancing in equal numbers and whether they feel equally well supported in career development. Radio employers can use experienced diversity consultants, experts and professional organizations to help them identify barriers to equal opportunity and design appropriate responses.

The study can further help identify other factors that were previously ignored in Ugandan radios but are clearly vital for improving the level of participation of women and men in all radio activities. For example, managers of FM radio stations can screen written evaluations for stereotypical characterizations, develop objectives, in order to ensure equal opportunities for career development and educate all radio staff about how to give and receive effective performance evaluations.

The study may also help radio owners, managers and radio employees understand that women and men are different and bring different skills and qualities to the leadership of Ugandan radios. The study may further help radio proprietors to carry out continuous and relevant capacity building of radio workers, by giving them scholarships or through in-house training for better service provision.

Other researchers and academicians may benefit from new knowledge about gender representation in the Ugandan FM radios and try to understand the gaps that exist between policies, research and practice.














1.7 Definition of key concepts

Ownership: the state or fact of owning something (Merriam webstar).

Management:  it refers to supplying knowledge to find out how existing knowledge can best be applied to produce results (Drucker1993).

Leadership: is the ability to evaluate and or forecast a long term plan or policy and influence the followers towards the achievement of the said strategy (Mayowa 2009).

Gender: is taken to refer to the full ensemble of norms, values, customs and practices by which the biological difference between female and male of the human species is transformed and exaggerated into a very much wider social difference (Kabeer 1999).

Culture: is the shared knowledge and schemes created by a set of people for perceiving interpreting expressing and responding to the social realities around them (Lederach 1995).

Authority: is power conferred for a purpose (Heifetz 1994).

Power: is a potential or capacity for action, defined by Raven and French as “the maximum force which A can induce on B minus the maximum resisting force which B can mobilize in the opposite direction” ( Raven and French 1958a, Raven and French 1958b).










2.0 Introduction.

This chapter looks at other researchers’ views in relation to this research work. It focuses mainly on gender equity in senior management of the media industry with emphasis on radio leadership.

According to Hogue (2007, p.371), more women worldwide are participating in the workplace. However, numerous government, non-government reports and scholarly research show that women are few in top- level positions in most public and privately owned radio stations. Radio leadership is the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting, objectives, organizing resources, deploying human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives, and measuring results in the radio industry (Albarran et al 2005). According to Kotter (1990), the definition of leadership in radio industry is: to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of a radio and that both leadership and management involve influence of decision making, working with people, concern about effective goal accomplishment, and other shared characteristics within the radio.  Kotter’s ( 1990) definition of leadership applies to this study because it can benefit women and men at all  levels of decision making and effective goal achievement thereby enhancing their participation in the activities of  their respective radios.

2.1 The history of radio in Uganda

Radio stations can be divided roughly into four categories; state-controlled public radios, privately owned commercial radio, community-controlled radios and international radios. Private commercial stations have bigger audience than government radios in Uganda. In 1993, the first private radio station (Radio Sanyu) was established in Kampala, Uganda. This was to herald an enormous change in mass media and public information in a country where state owned broadcasting was previously the monopoly. The liberalization policy, together with the decreasing cost of FM transmitters, favored the proliferation of radio stations. Uganda has over 150 stations (Balancing Act, 2008). Very few of those radios are owned by women. The majority of these radio stations belong to men and women occupy subordinate positions in most radios.

The structure of the radio. There are the proprietor(s), management, producers, presenters and marketers.

The proprietors are the owners of a particular radio. They can be government, private investors or non-governmental organization (NGO). The owners determine the broad policy guidelines of the radio. It is therefore important for the women to engage themselves in ownership of radios since, in most cases, their views or interests will be part of the mainstream.

 Management are the senior journalists employed in the radio station. They are in charge of interpreting the policy guidelines and implementing them. They include the editors-in-chief, the programs manager, marketing manager, human resources manager and heads of technical (Woermer 1998).

Other radio staff includes the chief producers. These are in charge of preparing, producing or even directing programs.

Radio presenters are the people whose voices are heard on radio. This can be in form of reading news or talking about an issue or conducting an interview with a subject (guest) in the studio or outside.  Radio reporters are in charge of collecting and writing news for broadcast. Under reporters, there are freelance reporters. These are reporters who are paid according to the number of stories they submit and are read. Freelance reporters are paid extremely small sums of money on the stories they report. Payment per story ranged from Uganda shillings 500 to10, 000 depending on the radio. They (freelance journalists) are not offered transport and lunch.  A freelance can contribute to as many radios as possible but most times, they are given a retainance fee by one radio so she or he is restricted to that one radio. In Uganda today, there are more freelances than reporters, many of whom are women (Woermer 1998).

The majority of radio workers with contracts were those in top and middle positions, mainly editors and administrators. They are salaried and receive monthly pay. The salaried staff forms a small proportion of the workers. There are few reporters, presenters and producers having contracts. Even full time employees lacked contracts and as such, they constitute the majority of radio workers paid on weekly basis. Radio journalists who are in Uganda are badly paid, have little job-security and are poorly organized in terms of professional or trade union bodies. They are poorly trained, if trained at all and due to low job security and scant professional rewards, there is a high turnover and brain-drain out of the radio profession. The most affected in all the above matters are female radio workers who occupy most of the low positions in the radio industry.

2.2 Women and the workplace the historical view

For the vast majority of the population in pre- industrial societies, productive activities and the activities of the household were not separate. Production was carried on either in the home or nearby and all members of the family participated in work on the land or in handcrafts. Women often had considerable influence within the household even if they were excluded from the male realms of politics and warfare (Giddens 2001). Much of this changed with the separation of the workplace from the home brought about by the development of modern industry. With the progress of industrialization, an increasing division was established between home and workplace. The idea of separate spheres, public and private, became entrenched in popular attitudes. Men, by merit of their employment outside the home, spent more time in the public realm and become more involved in local affairs, politics and the market. Women came to be associated with domestic values and were responsible for tasks such as child care, maintaining the home and preparing food for the family. The idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ had different implications for women at varying levels in society. Affluent women enjoyed the services of maids, nurses and domestic servants. The burdens were harshest for poorer women who had to cope with the household chores as well as engaging in industrial work to supplement their husband’s income. Rates of employment of women outside the home were quite low until the 20th century (Giddens 2001).

In the past, most African societies had a dual sex political system which allowed for substantial female representation and involvement in governance. For example, the position of the queen mother, as was seen across Africa in Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Egypt, gave women prominent and visible political authority in running the nation. However, due to the Victorian concept of women that was held by the colonialists and embraced by the African male, women were excluded from the new political administration system of the colonialists. As the status quo was maintained, African men began to believe that women were incapable of leadership. This erroneous opinion is still held by many Africans to this day and is reflected in the meager number of appointments women receive in leadership positions. This marginalization of women led to an erosion in the position and influence of women in society.

2.3 The issue of public and private dichotomy

According to (Goetz 1997), this issue is a symptom and cause of women’s oppression. Work patterns are structured around long working hour’s overnight work, urgency and traveling. These work structures and patterns reflect organizational culture which would be in turn reflected in their performance criteria and this determines those who would flourish. Furthermore (Gallagher 1990), writing about male dominated institution supports Goetz’s argument and says that women working in  organizations are often ‘boxed in’ by the dominated interest and attitude of sexism embodied in the professional standards. They are hardly seen in management positions. Those who manage to go through and reach top positions tend to become “sociological male”; they tend to adapt the masculine culture. Women find that in order to be successful, they are required to fit the prevailing male norm of leadership. Professor Kyomuhendo Bantebya of the school of women and gender studies Makerere University said that women in senior or administrative positions try to assert their power and position to perform and deliver (New Vision Thursday, 1st may 2014). How does this relate to the issue of women and radio leadership?

MacBride et al (1981:265) posits that:

“Communication, with its immense possibilities for influencing the minds and behavior of people, can be a powerful means of promoting democratization of the society and of widening public participation in the decision making process. This depends on the structures and practices of the media and their management and to what extent they facilitate broader access and open the communication process to a free interchange of ideas, information and experiences among equals, without dominance and gender discrimination”. 

The argument here is that the working environment and set up is not conducive for women in radio to manage their career as communication practitioners and home makers. This perhaps accounts for the relatively small number of women working in the radio industry.

2.4 Perception of leadership in Uganda

Leadership is perceived as being masculine and as a result, women in radios are less likely to be seen as leaders regardless of their capability or effectiveness. Effective leadership is therefore associated with communication and decision making styles linked to men-directive, authoritative and expedient rather than the communal and inclusive styles attributed to women (Eagly and Carli 2007). Gender stereotypes affect the perception and acceptance of women as managers and leaders (Marongiu 1999). However, it is not necessary for women to adapt the male leadership style since women’s leadership style carries more advantages over the male. Women leaders in radios tend to use a transformational leadership style and that this style is associated with organizational effectiveness (Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt 2007).

2.4.1 The narrow view of the pathway to leadership take it to leadership

This view tends to see leadership as full time straight –line career. It is also limiting the advancement of women. The issue is one of inflexibility and rigidity of job design-don’t allow for time out and do not recognize the skills that women gain in family and other roles. This perception of leadership and reluctance to redesign leadership roles has the potential to limit access to the talent pool and overlook talented women for senior roles in radios. These assumptions also affect the recruitment of women generally limiting the internal talent pool that may move into future leadership roles.  In developed economies, however, the trend is changing to allow women time for domestic work. An increasing number of companies are realizing the fact that women need sometime out and have undertaken attempts to encourage women to remain in their careers as the participation of women is vital to the diversity and to the successes of corporations (George 2005).

2.5 Gender and inequalities in the radio industry

Gender: is taken to refer to the full ensemble of norms, values, customs and practices by which the biological difference between female and male of the human species is transformed and exaggerated into a very much wider social difference (Kabeer 1999). Gender ideas have been used to justify various unequal treatments between women and men.

2.5.1 Occupational gender segregation in Ugandan radio industry

It refers to the fact that women and men are concentrated in different types of jobs based on prevailing understanding of what is appropriate ‘female and male work’. Occupational segregation has been seen to possess vertical and horizontal components. Vertical refers to the tendency for women to be concentrated in jobs with little authority and room for advancement while men occupy more powerful and influential positions. Professor Kyomuhendo Bantebya of the school of women and gender studies Makerere University believed that, for women in junior positions, “men tend to assume that they should serve them” (New Vision Thursday, 1 may 2014). In addition to that, Catharine Mackinnon (1979) noted that “most women work as man’s workplace inferiors, either at inferior work or at inferior positions in the same work”, page 13. Despite possessing formal equality with men, female radio workers have traditionally been concentrated in poorly paid, routine occupations. Many of these jobs are highly gendered. That is, they are commonly seen as ‘women’s work’.  In such jobs, a woman is employed as a woman. The Stereotypic notions regarding her proper place in life, rather than her unique talents and interests, shape her role in the labor force.  Women in radios perform “wife like functions” such as tidying up, answering the phone and getting coffee. Secretarial and caring jobs are overwhelmingly held by women and they are generally regarded as ‘feminine ‘occupations (Catharine Mackinnon 1979).

The horizontal component refers to the tendency for women and men to occupy different categories of jobs. For example, female radio workers largely dominate in domestic and routine clerical positions while men are clustered in semi-skilled and skilled positions. Changes in the organization of employment as well as sex role stereotyping have contributed to occupational segregation. Women remain over represented in low paying, low status occupations and underrepresented in high paying, high status occupations (Wirth 2001). That finding is supported by Kanter (1993), who argued that one reason for women’s lower representation in high ranks is female and male job segregation. That women’s and men’s jobs are horizontally segregated whereby women are usually restricted to lower status, unskilled, lower paid and part time jobs.  She continued to say that jobs are also vertically segregated in that men progress and occupy top positions; women are usually limited to lower positions even in female dominated jobs.  Women may be placed in the horizontally disadvantaged jobs because of their choice of career. The choice of career will be the focus of the following lines.

2.5.2 Career choice

Many talented women usually chose careers which did not expose them to managerial challenges (Levin and Mattis 2006). The above research finding is supporting this study because it was found out that majority of women in radios did not study courses that are in line with radio management. Some women had degrees in procurement and supplies management but seated at the front desk. Others were qualified teachers but they were working in radios.

In addition to that, a study done by USA group DDI, quoted by Howard and Wellins (2009), showed that women are held back throughout their careers by the assumptions that organizations and employers make about their career goals and ambitions. They assume that women have less career ambition and diminished loyalty to their employers because of their more significant caring and household responsibilities. Gender stereotyping excludes women from leadership roles (Piterman 2008). Therefore as a result of gender stereotypes, employers avoid recruiting women. Female radio workers are less likely to be considered for leadership roles and are segregated into marginal roles that do not lead to positions of influence because they are characterized as “not tough enough” in the minds of many radio managers. Most female radio workers are not encouraged to take operating roles that might lead them to positions of influence and are not being offered challenging assignments. These inaccurate stereotypes contrast with the desires and priorities of female radio workers. Female radio workers want to advance, are equally as ambitious as male radio workers and opportunities for learning, development, promotion and progression are a high priority. An Austrian study of women and men in the public sphere revealed that both women and men are likely to aspire to a job with more responsibility in their future career. This was according to the Equal opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (2008b). This is true to some women in the Ugandan radios who were looking for ways of advancing their radio careers.

2.5.3 Concentration on part-time work

Although a growing number of female radio workers now work full time outside the home, a large proportion of female radio workers were concentrated on part-time employment. Many women happily chose to work part-time in order to fulfill traditional domestic obligations (Hakim 1996). In addition to that, Marvin (2001) explains that women are usually forced to choose between their careers and their family stability. This means that women’s choices of part-time work is to a greater extent socially constructed and constrained as women are and are expected to be the primary caregivers, especially of the young and very old. Women in their early lives experience a number of barriers during their decision of their career path (Phillips and Imhoff 1997).

Most of the Ugandan radios have a large number of their workers being freelancers who engage themselves in reading news and announcements, doing comedy skits, and reporting news. Opportunities for part-time work have grown enormously partly due to the expansion of the service sector (Crompton 1997). Part-time jobs were seen as offering much greater flexibility for employees than full- time work. For this reason, they were often favored by female radio workers who attempted to balance work and family obligations.

More to that, participation rates and employment in full-time jobs tend to be lower for women as they are pushed to take on lower paid and more unstable part-time jobs  to accommodate domestic and care responsibilities (Canadian Labor Congress 2004). Women, who were having that responsibility as well as other domestic obligations but still wanted or needed to work in radios, inevitably found part-time work a more feasible option because men in radios did not assume prime responsibility for the rearing of children. In principle, most men support gender equality but in practice, they may fail to structure their lives to promote it. As a result, women continue to shoulder the major burden of domestic responsibilities.

It should be noted, however, that part-time employment is more flexible for the employers than for the employees of radios. Part-time work carried certain disadvantages such as low pay, job insecurity and limited opportunities for advancement of radio workers. The news reporters, for example, who are freelancers, are much likely not to be offered a promotion because they are hardly at the station.

2.5.4 The gender-organization system approach

According to Fagenson (1990), the gender-organization approach puts forth organizational structure and gender. Both can shape women’s behavior in the work place. It takes into account factors like the organizational culture, history, ideology and policies. Women’s failure to progress may be attributed to, for example, a paternalistic culture, where a person is promoted basing on their gender instead of their work performance.  And those organizations are located in societies with specific cultural values, histories, societal practices, expectations and stereotypes regarding appropriate roles and behaviors for women and men and in so doing; they affect the internal structures and processes of organizations.

The gender-organizational approach concurs with this study in that some radios were established by men whereby men are the share holders and appointment to top positions rotates around themselves. They cannot appoint a woman even when she is capable because of the history of such a radio station.  A case in point is CBS FM. In other radios like Capital FM, it can be easy for them to consider women to occupy management positions because of the experience of having women leaders. This is because succession in vacated executive positions is usually based on the gender of the previous occupant of the position or the job. However, since most senior executive positions are dominated by male, it is easy for women to be excluded immediately.

2.5.5 Home-related factors

The home environment presents several obstacles to female radio workers, especially those with families. They experience the so called “second shift syndrome” where they must work on the first shift in the radio and continue on the second shift in the home environment. Female radio workers find themselves in the circumstance called “dual career women”. Although some women can often afford to buy their way out of domestic drudgery, not all family obligations can be readily outsourced. A case in point is breastfeeding. This proves too difficult for them to pursue career advancement goals.

In short, women’s progress remains partial. They have had only limited success in moving women in to leadership roles traditionally occupied by men and even less in moving men into domestic roles traditionally occupied by women. Women have not yet obtained work place and social policies that accommodate the needs of both sexes on family-related issues.

2.6 Women and radio leadership

Although a small number of women have occupied technical as well as managerial positions in the radio industry, most female radio workers are merely struggling to make ends meet. They remain overrepresented in low-paying, low status occupations and underrepresented in high paying, high status occupations. Men’s jobs carry much greater financial rewards and prestige. It was noted by Equal opportunity for Women in the work place Agency (2008a), that despite the increase in women in paid employment, progress to top leadership roles and positions of influence has been slow. And that the rate of change is so slow that without significant strategies, women will remain significantly underrepresented in technical and managerial roles.

2.6.1 Decision making in radios

Once women were appointed to top leadership positions, they were as influential as their male counterparts. Mills (1988) believes that if more women had positions of authority at senior levels, media would offer more positive perceptions of women. This view is also being supported by Lichter, Lichter and Rothman (1986) who said that the lack of women in the media is paralleled by the scarcity of women in charge of media.

However, most female media workers often operate within the cultural context that undervalues women’s opinions and contributions to public discussions. Participation in bureaucratic structures by women unless it addresses these, rather than intractable and often unrecognized assumptions can do little to alter the gendered context in which management of radios is concerned. Those in lower ranks are left out of discussions.  The challenge is to think in new ways about participation for women and use theoretical tools to help design new methods and techniques that will enhance both women’s ability to fully participate in decision making and their capacity to transform cultural practices that contribute to gender inequalities (Parpat 1990).

The segregation of women in lower level management is also a global phenomenon. A global study of women and men managers by USA group Development Dimensions International (DDI) revealed that women were more likely to occupy lower level management positions (Howard and Wellins 2009).  Therefore this means that women’s concerns and experiences do not feature in policy implementation. Yet, taking women’s concerns into consideration during initiating and planning is a crucial issue because women as a group do have specific needs and experiences that are best understood by themselves. If their views are not integrated in policies, it means a great loss to them. Loss of women results in a wastage of talent and inefficiency whereas increasing the participation of women in technical and senior positions of influence brings competitive advantage (Palermo 2004).

In order to have a well balanced gender representation in radios, Parpat (2000), suggests that   Women’s needs and aspirations must be integrated in policy design and implementation and that unless women are involved in planning and design, policies will continue to undermine women’s status.

2.7 Theoretical framework

The focus of this study was to find out the participation and representation of women in decision making positions in FM radio stations and to assess how FM radios were addressing the issue of gender equality. The liberal feminist theory is therefore concerned with the issue of media and gender.

Liberal feminism is rooted in the tradition of 16th and 17th century’s liberal philosophy which focused on the ideas of equality and liberty. Liberal feminism stemmed from the idea that women must obtain equal opportunities and equal rights in society (Acker1987). They see women subordination as resulting from gendered norms, rather than biological sex and aim to change these norms. Stereotyping and discrimination created a situation where women have less chance of education, fewer career opportunities and other social dimensions in society.  The held cultural beliefs of Ugandan societies for whom some radios were created deliberately exclude women from public opportunities including leadership positions (Tamale 2008). The exclusion, in turn, renders women in radio stations unable to demonstrate their capabilities. This is a discriminatory state of affairs that does not benefit either of the genders. This is true when it comes to women in most radios, as most senior ranks are occupied by men.  But unless radio stations provides equal economic opportunity a man has, most women working in radio stations will exercise their hard won autonomy only within the private or domestic realm. Liberal feminists are also concerned with ensuring that laws and policies do not discriminate against women. Liberal feminists are looking forward to removing the barriers that prevent women from operating effectively in public spheres on equal terms with men.

The liberal feminists’ emphasis on equal opportunities for both women and men becomes instrumental in this study because more feminist insights into the occupational segregation reveal that even with the increasing number and women being promoted in FM radios, they do not have the power and influence that mirrors their number (Cartel et al, 1998; Thonham 2007:8). Women in decision making positions in the radio stations have found it hard to work towards empowering their fellow women in subordinate positions. They have not actively raised their concern in demanding for equal pay of women and men and adjustment in programs for working mothers particularly those who work at night and those involved in news coverage. This status signifies sexist judgments about women such that their subordinate status in patriarchal society is symbolically reinforced. Gender inequalities such as the glass ceiling, sexual harassment, under payment, limited chances for women advancement, sexual exploitation and gendered division of labor mean that equality and justice for all usually means for men, because the structure of gender as a social institution has never been seriously challenged. Although Uganda has stood out as one of the countries that have promoted gender sensitive laws and policies like affirmative action, the media leadership in this country continues to be dominated by men. Many women are still brought up not to boast but to understate; not to work in the limelight but behind the stage. Being raised like this makes it harder for many women to succeed in their chosen career, especially if they go into fields that are traditionally dominated by men like the radio industry.

The implication is that gender inequality is not an individual matter but is deeply ingrained in the structure of societies; build into organizations of marriage and family, work and the economy, politics, religions, the arts and other cultural productions. Making women and men equal therefore necessitates social and not individual solutions. For this matter women working in media in a society embedded with in patriarchal values are bound to face violence.

The liberal feminist scholars who support the principle of equality of opportunities of men and women in public sphere include Betty Friedan and Steinem (1997). Betty Friedan’s (1963) “The feminine mystique” She emphasized the fact that there should be possibility to open up broader opportunities for women in work (Heywood, 2003: 254). The broader opportunities in radios for women may include, equal involvement of both women and men in training and development opportunities in order to prepare them for leadership roles. Steinem (1970) actively campaigned for the equal rights between women and men, especially at the workplace. “This”, she adds, “helps to strike down much long-standing sex discriminatory laws, such as those that give men superior rights in marriage and deny women equal representation in leadership positions.”

Another liberal feminist scholar, Mill (2008), asserts that all humans will benefit from living in a civilized society that is regulated along the principle of fair justice. The whole society needs to draw from each other’s talents and abilities. If we are to achieve sexual equality or gender equality, society must also provide women with the civil liberties and economic opportunities men enjoy. This could provide an enabling environment for female and male media workers to compete favorably for top leadership positions in the radio industry.  John Stuart Mill’s view  is supported by Harriet Taylor in “The subjection of women” (1970), proposed that women should be entitled to the rights and liberties enjoyed by men and that traditional arrangements of work and family is tyrannizing women and denying them freedom of choice (Mandell 1995:6).

Basing on the fact that Uganda is a patriarchal society this perspective can be used to determine the positions and roles assigned to women and men in the FM radios and what bearing it has on major decisions concerning media work.

2.7.1 Conceptual framework

Figure 1 shows conceptual framework

Gender                                                                                                             Job position

Independent variable                                                                         dependent variable











2.7.2 Variables.

Independent and dependent variables

Individuals who possess significant sources of power have access to and control over resources, authority and decision making. They could easily determine which employees are positioned in particular offices and therefore wielding particular decision making and power. They determine who is taken for training and development, who is to be promoted, given transfers, terminated, recruited or and given rewards. Most men hold higher position, higher supervisory and authority compared to women. Majority of women have less access to power and authority at work. Policy makers and supervisors make rules for them. Men’s occupation of these positions in the majority proves the inequalities that liberal feminists identify as distortion. They claim that women are underrepresented in the media. They blame the media for not keeping up with the changes in society by sticking to stereotypes. Van Zoonen (1994) observed that we seem to be suffering from cultural lag whereby our cultures, beliefs, attitudes and opinions on women are lagging behind reality about women.  Liberal feminist perspective offers the basis on which to criticize the media for their sexist representation and ignoring women issues instead of providing women with more positive and liberating role models. In liberal feminist perspective therefore, media are thought to transmit sexist patriarchal or capitalist values that contribute to the maintenance of the social order.

Extraneous variables

Gender stereotypes. The culturally held perception that men are the leaders and female are subordinates hinders women’s progression to top positions. Female radio workers may be seen as less capable and are likely to be associated with certain types of jobs that are linked to being ‘women’s jobs’. Those at the top of the leadership ladder, the majority being men, may end up excluding women in development opportunities like training, promotion, salary increment and give job assignments and other fringe benefits within the radio.

Gender roles shape the positions of both male and female media workers within the radio in that men and women might be controlled and excluded from occupying positions which they have interest in and positions where they can realize their full potential. For example, not all men can be good leaders. So gender stereotypes can force a man to be a leader yet in reality he is not capable of being one. And likewise, a woman could be thought of as being incapable of managing leadership yet she could be a good leader. Liberal feminists see women’s subordination as resulting from gendered norms, rather than biological sex and aim to change these norms. Stereotyping and discrimination created a situation where women are allocated domestic roles in the public domain instead of assessing their capability and be given challenging tasks like appointing them in decision making positions within the FM radio stations. They continue to say that the existence of gender stereotypes and gender roles in the media leads most female radio workers to be concentrated in jobs with little authority and little or no room for advancement.  Many of these jobs are highly gendered. That is, they are commonly seen as ‘women’s work’.  In such jobs, a woman is employed as a woman. The Stereotypic notions regarding her proper place in life, rather than her unique talents and interests, shape her role in the labor force.  Women in radios perform “wife like functions” such as tidying up, answering the phone and getting coffee while more men radio workers occupy more powerful and influential positions.

Financial constraints. When a company enters into a financial crisis, its top management can resort to the retrenchment of its staff. In doing so, many employees in lower positions of responsibility lose not only promotion and training opportunities but also their employment comes at stake. Most women occupy low positions and could easily be laid off.






3.0 Introduction

This chapter describes the methods that were used in conducting the study. It presents the research design, area of study, study population, sample size, sampling procedure, data collection methods, data analysis, limitation of the study and ethical consideration as well as the techniques that were  used to analyze data.

3.1 Research design

This study employed a multiple-case (multi-case) study research design as a qualitative analysis that involved careful and in-depth investigation of gender and radio leadership and the underlying attitudes that lead to the inequalities and discriminatory behavior in radio leadership for purposes of generalization. The case studies included Capital FM, CBS and Radio One. The multiple studies occur whenever the number of cases examined exceeds one (Yin 1984, Eisenhardt 1989).

3.2 Area of study

The study was conducted in three selected radio stations including Central Broadcasting Service (CBS FM), a typically Buganda kingdom radio; Capital FM and Radio One (female owned).

Central Broadcasting Service (CBS FM) is the “largest” private commercial FM radio station in Uganda (Steadman 2009). It broadcasts on 88.8 FM and 89.2 FM, transmitting on 6 KW and 5 KW respectively with an additional booster transmitter located in Masaka. CBS is located in the capital city, Kampala in the central and most populated region of Uganda. The fact that CBS FM is owned by the Kabaka makes it popular and widely listened to by both Kampala-based and rural audiences of central Uganda.

Figure 2: The researcher in CBS Studios 88.8


Radio one (FM 90.0) is managed by Honorable Maria Kiwanuka (Minister of Finance and Economic planning). It is located in the Kampala city centre on Dastur Street and broadcasts in English. Radio One was chosen, since it is owned by a female, to establish whether if a female is in a top decision making position can promote empowerment of other women.

Figure 3:  Hon Maria Kiwanuka, proprietor of Radio One and Akaboozi Ku Bbiri.


Capital (91.3 FM) was started by foreign directors (Patrick Quarcoo and William Pike) in 1994. It is located in Kololo about 3 Kms from the city centre off Kira road in Kampala. Capital FM was selected due to its wide coverage and attraction of youthful and elite population for quite a long time.

Figure 4: Capital FM’s studios.

3.2.1 Sample Study

Sampling was used in this study; Nachmias et al… defines a sample as ‘a smaller group obtained from the accessible population. Each member or case in the sample is referred to as a subject’ (1992:185). Sampling is very important in qualitative research; because we cannot study everyone; sampling decisions are required not only about the participants to be interviewed but also the setting and process of the interview itself (Punch 2005: 187). Punch looks at ‘Purposive sampling’ to mean sampling in a deliberate way, with some purpose or focus in mind (ibid). In this research, purposive and snow-ball sampling methods were used; hence the researcher used her knowledge of the population to select 100 male and female respondents drawn from CBS FM, Capital FM and Radio One and also individuals and radio proprietors, managers and shareholders who had experience and knowledge on the issue relating to gender equality in the media leadership.

The number of respondents chosen from each radio was not equal because the number of employees varied from one radio station to another. CBS FM obtained the majority of respondents (54) simply because it has two channels 88.8 and 89.2 FM.  Thirty respondents came from 88.8 and 24 from 89.2 FM. Radio one (30) and Capital FM followed by (16) respondents.

In this dissertation, men were in more favorable positions than women and this is evidenced by the fact that they outnumbered women in management positions. Normally men’s views do not automatically represent women’s’ interests and as such I employed the feminist approach and engaged more women in in-depth interviews to acquire relevant information in order to ensure that women themselves can speak for themselves. The researcher selected 15 key informants using purposive sampling. And 55 respondents were interviewed through snow ball sampling. Thirty respondents were female and 25 male. Structured questionnaires were distributed among 30 respondents. 15 were female and another 15 were male respondents.

Snow ball sampling. This was employed due to financial problems and the lack of a list of radio proprietors, directors, senior managers and radio workers. Snow ball or chain sampling was employed to select a sample of potential respondents. In the snow ball approach, respondents were discovered. This initial group was then to refer the researcher to others who possess similar characteristics and who in turn identify others (Cooper and Schindler, 2006). The few I found at the station became the initial group who referred me to the other respondents. In order to control bias, similar questions and probing of the respondents’ answers was done to assess their responses in the three FM radio stations that were studied.

They gave me enough information about female and male radio workers’ representation in leadership positions within the selected radios. The choice of the population was based on the fact that it would provide enough information and also be able to use the selected instruments since it was mostly literate. Many radio workers were hardly at the stations. They were mostly in the field meeting clients (marketers), covering stories and doing documentaries (news reporters/ correspondents) and doing research (presenters). It was not necessary for some of them to make frequent movements to their place of work since they could use modern technology to communicate and pass on the information to those at their radio stations.  Many of them were part-timers who appeared at the station only when they were going for work. Like the night workers, present themselves during night hours.



3.3 Data Collection Techniques

The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods.

3.3.1 Quantitative Data Collection Techniques

The Quantitative data collection method was used because it relies on structured data that fit diverse experiences into predetermined response categories and it took the form of questionnaires. It produced results that were easy to summarize, compare, and generalize.

3.3.2 Questionnaires

The research questionnaires were self-administered to the targeted sample population. They included; heads of departments, radio managers, finance and administration personnel, news anchors, and news editors among others. Questionnaires (appendix 2), were administered to get information about women and men’s representation in senior management positions in radio leadership in Uganda. Structured questionnaires were distributed among 30 respondents and were administered in an organized setting where the respondents would fill in the questionnaires and after one week hand them over to me. Respondents asked for enough time to concentrate on answering the questions.

However, the major weakness of closed-ended questionnaires was that they did not provide detailed information to the problem and this is why they were interviews were also used. According to Mugenda (1999), interviews are advantageous in that they provide in-depth data which is not possible to get using questionnaires only.

3.3.3 Qualitative Data Collection Techniques

These qualitative data collection methods were chosen because research methodology scholars are in agreement that it provides the researcher with detailed and insightful information. The qualitative methods are favored when exploring peoples’ perceptions or every day behavior as it captures nuances and details.

Qualitative data collection methods were used to obtain a holistic picture of the subject(s) of the study. This provided rich information and allowed for individual differences to shine through out the research process. And finally, document analysis not only enriched the information obtained through interviews but also helped the researcher to study different factors that influence women and men’s attainment of leadership positions and identify potential path ways to top leadership positions in the Ugandan FM radios.

The following techniques were used; interviews (in-depth and semi structured interview with semi structured interviews chosen as the primary research method in this study) and documentary analysis as methods for data collection.

3.3.4 Semi- Structured Interviews

Unstructured interview guides were used to obtain information from key informants (15) and other respondents of which, 30 were female and 25 were male. 55 respondents were selected through snow ball sampling. Face to face discussions were conducted in English and Luganda with the radio managers and those in subordinate positions. This as argued by Bailey (1994), allowed for flexibility in asking some of the questions.

Semi-structured interviews (appendix 1) were chosen to allow respondents a degree of freedom to explain their thoughts and to highlight their concerns, as well as to enable certain responses to be probed in greater depth by the researcher. In total 55 interviews were conducted. Interview time ranged between 15-25 minutes. Respondents were informed at the beginning of each interview about the goals of the researcher and reasons for the interview. All respondents selected the time and place for the interview. This was to ensure that interviewees were also part of the research process.

3.3.5. Key Informant Interviews

Personal interviews were carried out with five key informants from each radio making them (15). They included the radio station presenters, heads of departments, radio managers, finance and administration personnel, the proprietors of the radio stations and share holders. The key informants were selected to get the required and general information from a wide range of expert people believed to possess vital and particular knowledge and understanding to provide an insight about the background of each radio studied, each radios’ policies, methods and procedure regarding recruitment, promotion, retention and other development opportunities their radios use in promoting gender equality.

The study also included key informants in lower positions to include the news anchor and reporters, sales staff, presenters and front desk occupants. The rationale for the researchers’ inclusion of respondents from lower positions of leadership was that they are not part of management and are considered to know a lot of what is happening at the grassroots, are faced with a lot discriminatory tendencies and are believed to be neutral in their responses. The researcher could not concentrate on upper managers only and had to include those in low positions dominated by women. Women are few in top level echelons.

The key informants were contacted in advance. Permission was sought through personal contacts. Times for interviews were arranged in accordance with respondents’ preferences. Interviews took place at the particular radio station. In-depth interviews were used because it is easy to fully understand someone’s impressions or experiences, or learn more about their answers to the questions. Each individual was approached and asked whether they would be willing to be interviewed on the topic. Participants were informed that the research was for a master’s degree and assured that all information would remain confidential. An interview time was set up with each participant at his or her convenience. 15 key informants were interviewed however; some were busy and had to be replaced. For example, I did not meet Honorable Maria Kiwanuka of Radio One due to the fact that she can take a long time without being at the station. But I interviewed her first deputy and second deputy. I also failed to meet the general manager of Capital FM and instead interviewed the heads of departments, one for research and another one for news. Paton (1990), states that qualitative inquiry that uses in-depth interview methods is not rigid about the number of respondents to be included in the study but what matters is the purpose of the inquiry, the credibility and what can be done with in available time and resources.

3.4 Documentary Analysis

Secondary data would be an extra strength on this study. It was used to gain initial insight into the research problem, and find out what the previous researchers have achieved and the roles played by other bodies (Steppingstones 2004 17:47). The researcher reviewed a number of documents regarding women’s and men’s representation in senior management positions of leadership from key public and private offices, newspapers, women and Gender desks and NGOs.  Like Uganda Broadcasting Council, the Uganda Business and Media Institute Kabuusu, UCC offices in Kampala and Bugoloobi headquarters.  Uganda media women’s association (UMWA), and met the director Margaret Sentamu Masagazi the director of Mama FM to obtain relevant data related to the topic. Makerere University libraries were also properly utilized by the researcher.

3.5 Data Analysis

In this section I discuss a strategy and process I employed in interpreting what was pointed out to me during the interviews before the formal analysis of data I went through the notes that I wrote by hand. Because the respondents feared to be tape recorded.

3.6 Analysis of quantitative data  

Data obtained through questionnaires was evaluated using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) to get statistical data that was used in generating tabular frequencies and percentages, some of which was used to construct graphs which were applied to drawing conclusions.

3.6.1 Analysis of Qualitative data 

Data obtained through interviews was converted into themes from which conclusions were drawn according to study objectives and research questions.

3.7 Ethical consideration

In accordance with what is expected of a researcher, I first made appointments with the three radio institutions as well as other people that were involved in the research. I was issued with an introductory letter from the dean’s office, School of women and gender Studies (appendix 3). The factor of confidentiality was considered. Participant’s responses were used for the purposes of this research only. The respondents were not forced or helped in giving answers to research questions. They were only guided in answering them where necessary.

3.8 limitation of the study

It was my first time to conduct a research study, I learned by doing meaning that I took a lot of time to know what to do.

The interviews proved to be more time consuming than anticipated a factor that slowed down the process. This contradicted with my plans. Most senior managers’ busy schedules were ever in meetings, I had to post pone or wait for longer hours due to such circumstances. But I had to wait to fulfill my objectives.

Some of the respondents lost the questionnaires so I had to reproduce more and more questionnaires it impacted on my finances.

Majority of respondents particularly those in upper level positions had tight schedules they had to post pone the appointments so I had to wait.



4.0 Introduction

In this chapter, I present and interpret the findings of the study with regards to the primary and specific objectives of the gender composition of women and men in senior leadership positions of Ugandan FM radio industry. Several reasons that different respondents gave, explaining why there are fewer women in senior management positions in radios than their male counterparts, are examined in this chapter. The work is divided into four thematic blocks. The first consists of the positions held by female and male respondents in the selected FM radios. The second focuses on the strategies the three radios have put in place to ensure women and men’s equal access to leadership opportunities. The Third block focuses on gender and radio leadership and finally, the last part provides the barriers that have prevented female and male workers from accessing top leadership positions in the Ugandan FM radios.  This chapter focuses on three key terms; ownership, management and leadership.   Ownership: is the possession of a specific radio station.

Management: involves overseeing the station administrative and business functions of a radio station.

Leadership: refers to skills to deliver significant organizational change.

The FM radio stations’ ownership, management and its leadership remain a key determinant of the way media houses carry out their activities. According to the finding most of the FM owners, its managers and leaders did not work towards promoting and articulating gender sensitive structure and hierarchy in their radio stations.


4.1 Occupation

By definition, manager/ managing director are those who develop strategies and policies whereas upper /senior level managers are those who implement strategies and policies and general staff are those who occupy low level positions and had no promotional opportunities.   

According to the above findings, the radio stations had different management structures. For example in Capital FM, the position of general manager is the topmost followed by two Heads of Departments, news and research. In CBS, that of the chairperson/managing director’s position is the topmost position followed by the heads of various departments that include the general manager, personnel and administration manager, programs director, sales manager, Editor-in-Chief and the chief accountant. However, in Radio One, the topmost position is that of the general manager followed by deputy general manager.

In CBS, the number of female and male respondents who worked as general staff (office assistants, receptionists, drivers, news reporters and presenters, sales representatives, cleaners and secretaries) was the same (13). Results indicate that only 1 female respondent in CBS was a senior manager who worked as the chief accountant whereas 6 male held the position of senior managers (as general manager, personnel and administration manager, programs manager, internal auditor, editor –in- chief and the sales manager). There was only 1 female director and 9 male directors in CBS FM. This means that most female radio workers in CBS are concentrated in lower positions of leadership. The above finding is in agreement with what Wirth (2001) found out that women are better represented at low than at high management levels.

In Radio One, the general manager, who is the founder of the radio, was a woman (Maria Kiwanuka). In addition, the number of female general staff was 15 while that of male was 12. Radio one had only 1 male senior manager who worked as the deputy general manager and 1 female deputizing the general manager. This means that there are few management positions, one of which is occupied by a female. However, most of the other workers of the radio were general staff and had no promotional opportunities.

In Capital FM, there was 1 man holding the position of a managing director. This man is also the founder of the radio while only 1 female held the position of general manager. 2 other female were heads of departments (Research and News). Other workers were working as general staff. This means that Capital FM has women as some of its decision makers.  Reskin and Ross (1992) conclude that even though some women have made momentous gains in obtainment of managerial titles, the desegregation of managerial occupations has not resulted in the reduction of sex discrimination in the assignment of work place authority.

However, it was found out that having some women in radio (Capital FM and Radio One) did not automatically translate into improvement status for female radio workers because it was found out that the few women in radio leadership were unable to effectively articulate the interests of their fellow women.  One senior female key informant from Capital FM indicated, we are there not to represent women’s issues but to discuss policy issues (04/02/13).

Interview findings revealed that most of the senior female radio workers have not actively advocated for women’s interests (anti-sexual harassment policy in radios, maternity leave arrangements for 60 days and not 21 days, child care support services in the work place). This is due to various reasons, including limited exposure and influence, lack of awareness of gender issues and low capacity. Some have internalized the values of the culture in which they have succeeded and have little interest in promoting opportunities for the betterment of their fellow women workers.  A female key informant holding a senior position from CBS FM said;

I am the Chief Accountant; I exactly don’t know how I can bring in the factor of gender in our executive meetings. I don’t want to sound off- topic (11/02/13).

Female managers fear to talk about women’s issues because they are unsure of what male think of them and as such, they decide not to say anything. Women often worry that they will be viewed as “self serving’ and unable to compete without special treatment by their male colleagues. These risks may not seem worth taking if women lack confidence and the understanding of the real value for changing to gender sensitive environments. A study done by Tougas and Beaton (1993) analysed perceptions and attitudes of past events and future measures implemented to reduce gap between genders in the workplace. Men agreed with eliminating systematic barriers that limit advancement for women but where against preferential treatment. This therefore means that both genders have self interest in mind. Women want help to go up the ladder, men see that as a threat so disapprove. Self interest conflicts held by men may hinder women’s from reaching equality in the work place.

It can therefore be said that having female radio proprietors like the Honorable Maria Kiwanuka of Radio One and Akaboozi Ku Bbiri and female radio managers (Capital and CBS), does not necessarily result in ‘women-friendly’ social, economic and political systems that are responsive to women’s concerns. They do not seem ready to assert their opposition to policies that are gender discriminative. Putting women in positions of power is not the same as empowering women. But the influence of women holding leadership positions can make crucial difference in promoting gender equality and improving the performance of women and men in radios. Del Nevo (2006) argued that greater representation of women does not necessarily mean an increase in and better coverage of women’s issues but a consideration of multiple factors such as patriarchy, media ownership and the prevailing culture with in the media industry. A study done by Wolf and Fligsteing (2009) looked at factors that contribute to the unequal distribution of women compared to men in positions of authority focusing on education, experience, tenure ,marriage, children that help map how and why some individuals are in position of authority. The study concluded that men are given more authority than women in the workplace.

Having looked at the weaknesses of women managers in articulating the interests of their fellow women in the radio board rooms, the next section focuses on assessing the policies that radio owners have put in place to promote gender equality in their radios.

4.2 Radio Strategies for the Advancement of Women and Men

This section is aimed at examining policy commitment and accountability that radio owners and managers have shown in ensuring equal access to leadership opportunities for women and men in terms of priorities, policies, recruitment and selection, training as indicated below;

4.2.1 Recruitment and selection of media workers

During recruitment and selection of workers in radios, many factors are taken into consideration. These procedural guidelines include advertising the job, selecting applicants with regards to technical skills, job behavior needed, applicant’s job experience, academic qualifications, age, marital status and gender among others.

Asked how recruitment and selection are done in radios, 54.5% female and 60.0% male from Capital Radio indicated that academic qualifications of an applicant is considered as one key informant from Capital FM contends:

                       Our managing director knows that women have all the qualities. He knows women are human beings just like men. They care a lot and are hard working, determined and educated (04/02/13).

If women have such qualities, they should not be discriminated against during recruitment and selection exercises in an attempt to aspire for leadership positions. They need to be appointed in big numbers in order to bring their skills and talents into the radio so as to boost their male counterparts and uplift standards of management.

It should be noted that educational qualification is vital while considering new employees in organizations and institutions. 68.0% female and 54.0% male from Capital Radio maintained that education is the number one factor for a new worker to be considered for employment. 32.1% female and 35.3% male in CBS FM showed that academic qualifications of radio job applicants are necessary but not a determinant factor because some applicants are considered for their talents they exhibited in various fields such as disc jockeys (DJ’s) and comedians.  In Radio One, 57.1% female and 58.8% male indicated that education was also not largely taken into account when recruiting and selecting radio workers. However, what one can deliver in terms of presentation and in terms of sales was the major determinant of entry into Radio One.

Furthermore, 58.8% female and 57.1% male from CBS Radio, 57.1% female and 46.7% male from Radio One indicated that the gender of an applicant is taken into account considering the job position being sought and that there is no specific job requirement for workers to be recruited for radio business. In other words there are certain jobs that are stereotypically performed by female and others for male. So, during recruitment, men stand a high chance of being selected as Radio engineers, technicians and managers and women are relegated to marginal roles that do not lead to positions of influence.

Gender segregation during the selection process does not only affect women alone but also men. This is evidenced by the large number of female workers in the care sector employed as Front desk occupants, switch board operators and administrative assistants in the three radio stations studied. A male presenter from CBS expressed his concern:

I requested a modified duty to relocate to the reception since the occupants who are female were always on and off due to their marital challenges. My supervisor turned down my request arguing that men cannot speak to people well. Men are not allowed to occupy the front desk even if it means occupying it a minute (11/2/13).

Some radio managers still hold the view that women are the primary care takers of people in both the private and public spheres.  The view of placing women in the care sector emanates from the nature of culture that is gendered. The ideological values of the traditional society are inculcated in a woman from the moment she is born, family, schools, religion and community. This highlights that discrimination starts at child hood. As children grow, girls and boys are not treated equally in terms of content. Society expects girls and women to behave in a certain way (to be polite, respectful and considerate) and to do certain kinds of jobs (cleaning and nurturing people), something that may end up being an obstruction to women’s promotion.

Also, 57.1% female and 46.7% male from CBS, 42.9% and 26.7% female and male respondents from Radio One respectively, and 54.5% male and 60.0% female respondents from Capital Radio showed that job related experience is not considered when recruiting and selecting radio workers since most of these radios prefer employing young people from universities without the required level of job experience.

In addition to job related experience, age was also another factor that was cited by respondents as a determinant for recruitment.  The three radios studied preferred to employ young people aged 20-44 years. 35.7 % female and 7.1% male from CBS revealed that radio managers considered the age of new applicants to be selected to work in the radio. This was emphasized by 32.7% female and 35.3% male from Radio One, and 32.1% female and 45.1% male from Capital radio. This is because radios prefer young workers to elderly people who wish to join the radio business. People who have advanced in age are rarely recruited because of the reasons already shown in section 4.1.1.

Although radio employees are recruited and selected to work in these three radio stations, findings indicate a lack of transparency in the way radio workers are recruited and selected. The selection process lacks transparency this has affected both women and men radio employees. Recruiting and promoting workers who are unsuitable for the radios has led to increased employee turnover, low morale, discontent and employees not offering their best and some have ended up leaving voluntarily or involuntarily when their unsuitability becomes evident. Van Zoonen (1994:5) noted that inequalities in the media stem from discriminatory recruitment procedures and discriminatory attitudes among decision makers. She observed that informal recruitment procedures in the media are based on personal contact tends to exclude women potential applicants and that the lack of formal career structures means that ascent through the hierarchy depends unduly upon personal contacts and acceptance.

The majority of radio employees were not aware of how their colleagues entered the radio industry. They maintained that there are no formal processes that include a clear set out selection process that is based on objective criteria such as a written test, voice testing, a formal interview and written appraisals. A male staff from Radio One FM indicated: You can wake up one morning and a new person is introduced to you that she or he is our new employee (18/2/13).

In the same vein, another respondent from CBS FM states: Each one of us enters CBS in a criterion best known to himself or herself and those who brought him or her (11/2/13).

This is an implication that the majority of vacant posts are not advertised. Therefore, applications cannot be made. In such cases, many senior management positions are filled by appointment method which sometimes favors men, for example in CBS Radio where the top managers such as general manager, human resources, programs director, internal auditor, and the managing director himself were appointed by the board of directors dominated by men. If CBS is male dominated, women are discriminated against by the selection and appointment procedures.  Men prefer to employ fellow men and they recruit 90/100 in favor of men while women show no gender bias in their recruitment decisions and typically recruit 50/50 (Mc Farlane (2004). More so, there is a tendency for senior managers to recruit individuals who are as similar as possible to the present job incumbents (Miller and Broughton 2009).  This therefore serves to make some radios resistant to change and to make it difficult for women to be seen as appropriate potential employees.  It is however unfortunate that this trend breeds, produces and reproduces gender inequalities in the radios that practice it.

4.2.2 Training and development

Interview findings show that the radio does not motivate all radio workers to enhance their skills and make greater contributions to their radio career. In CBS 25.6% female and 27.3% male indicated that radio managers consider only those women and men in leadership positions are considered for training by their radio managers. Those in lower positions are left out for leadership training. In Radio One, 9.3% female and 18.2% male and 42.9% female and 57.1% male in Capital FM showed that both women and men in upper level positions are favored for training than women and men in lower positions to acquire management skills. Training is usually given to senior managers who are mainly men. According to one of the key informants from CBS:

Training opportunities are usually undertaken by our heads of departments with a view that they will pass on the knowledge to us in the junior positions; for example, in the news department, we are represented by our editor- in- chief (11/2/13).

This means radio managers employ the trickle down approach. This drop down approach is used in the hope that when they give training opportunities to departmental heads dominated by men. The knowledge would trickle down to those in lower positions where most of the women are found. Female and male radio workers in senior management positions are the ones who enjoy the opportunities for training, necessary for leadership, whereas in lower ranks, they are left out by their managers when it comes to leadership training. Whereas it is advantageous for these radios to train people at lower levels on current job skills and prepare them for different or more advanced jobs, most radios have limited training opportunities to employees in lower positions. Training for departmental heads may mean preparing them for promotion. Departmental heads are dominated by men.  If the trend is not changed, the majority of female and male radio employees working will continue to remain in subordinate positions.

However, the trickle down approach used by most radio managers has never succeeded. As one female key informant from CBS FM declares:

                       They (supervisors) are ever having meetings, from one to another, from workshop to seminars; then annual leave. Now when do you expect them to pass on the knowledge to us? (04/2/13).

Managers of these radios invest substantial time and money in training programs that have no measurable impact on outcomes because there is no evidence in terms of documents that show improvements in the representation of women and men in upper-level positions as a result of such training.

It was further reported in interviews that training opportunities do not apply to all staff in Radio One and Capital FM. As noted by a male respondent from Capital FM:  It is always the same people who are taken for training. I think it is because of the top positions they occupy (04/2/13).

This implies that employees in Capital radio are not given equal training opportunities and that all decisions made related to training are not done using a non-discriminatory process. Opportunities for training radio workers in Capital focus on upper level managers. The upper level managers are mostly women. So it is women in Capital who benefit to the disadvantage of their male counterparts in inferior positions. Again one female marketer from Radio One said:    Maybe some of us don’t deserve training because we are not in the limelight (18/2/13).

Many if not all Radio One employees would want to be a part of the training and it implies that  radio workers do not have equal access to information about training opportunities widely through formal means such as emails, memos and posting on bulletin boards. It also means that radio employers do not allow employees to volunteer for training or encourage all employees to seek out training rather than selecting some few for these opportunities.

Liberal feminists emphasized proper training of women in leadership matters to help women to acquire leadership skills and climb to the top ladder of leadership. The lack of leadership training and mentoring for female radio workers means that there is a lack of specific management training skills, professional development, decision making skills and mentorship programs which limit women in radios from being seen as effective leaders.  The cost of not providing equal access to training or other learning opportunities can be significant. Affected radio workers fall farther behind over time and may be less able to advance compared to their colleagues who have had training opportunities. They may feel less motivated to work hard because they feel they are not valued workers. They are not expected to perform and will never be recognized for their contribution.

Discrimination of women and men in low positions in terms of leadership training is a systematic impediment in the Ugandan radios. Radios have not done enough to attract female radio workers and to support them in taking up leadership roles. The findings indicated that human resources departments have not done a good job in training employees about equal opportunity regulations and have not helped women and men in lower ranks to reach senior level positions of decision making. This finding is supported by Liliana Cisneros from the United States on online discussion on Women in Leadership (2007) who noted that it’s important to target human resources as key areas for transformation because human resources departments tend to reproduce old models, serving as gatekeepers for women.

Women constitute the majority of radio workers in subordinate positions meaning that many of them are not given equal training and development opportunities as men in radios. It gives men greater chances for advancement, thus creating a gender gap in the leadership of radios. A study done by Dezso and Ross (2008) demonstrates that training programs are important for female radio workers as they provide experiences that promote successful leadership and act as the feeder pool for senior leadership. They continue to say that achieving women’s progress to higher leadership levels is impossible if organizations continue to place disproportionately more male in training programs.

4.2.3 Performance and appraisal

Performance and appraisal exercise involves evaluation of employees’ performance, how they meet targets and their contribution to the radio. There are also other secondary matters like rewards in form of pay increment and a word of appreciation to workers who perform their work diligently.

Results show that 69.2% and 66.7% female and male respondents in CBS respectively indicated that during appraisal exercise, men’s work is more valued compared to women’s. Programs that are valued by their managers to be the most listened to are mostly conducted by men like political programs, entertainment programs and men are considered as the best when it comes to reading news.   25.6% female and 5.1% male in Capital FM maintained that they had never been subjected to performance and appraisal exercises. 23.8% of female and 9.5% male in Radio One revealed that performance and evaluation exercises have never been carried out. According to interview findings, some radio managers were not carrying out performance and appraisal exercises of their employees in Capital and Radio One. A female respondent from Capital Radio said: We have never been subjected to that kind of exercise (04/02/13).

In the same vein, a respondent from Radio One maintained: I do not think our managers have time for such exercises they have never carried out appraisals (11/02/13).

The above two statements from Capital and Radio One mean that radio owners do not screen written evaluations for stereotypical characterization, to insure equal opportunities for career development and educate both female and male radio workers about how to give and receive effective performance evaluations for career advancement.

According to results from interviews, performance and appraisal exercises in CBS were carried out on rare occasions and were dominated by a team of men as reported by one female interviewee in CBS:

The appraisal exercises are dominated by men who are our heads of departments. We need external people to carry out such exercises. Unfortunately, it is again our bosses within the radio that we face in the appraisal exercises. We cannot speak our minds for fear of intrigue and enmity (7/01/13).

If appraisal exercises are male dominated in CBS, it means that a woman’s voice will not only be unheard but the only woman who sits in management structures will always be outvoted. It will be difficult for the majority of women who are not strong enough to express their views freely particularly in this situation where the men are their bosses because having men on the panel does not automatically represent women’s interests. So the rules, codes of conduct, organizational cultures of CBS are mostly associated with masculine values and behaviors. All decisions are taken by men because the radio is male dominated. This is a great problem that violated democratic practices. This distorted view accounts for many of the problems between management and staff one female respondent from CBS expressed her concern:

During the appraisal exercise, I raised the issue of the ladies washrooms being locked every night. I continued to express my worries of women having their own problems that require ladies to have access to their own washrooms and being at risk of being raped at night in an attempt to go into the gents washrooms. One of the male managers answered, “Because she studied gender that is why she is speaking like that.” Another male added, “Gender is not going to work here…feminists are radicals …”and there was no support from the female manager in the meeting (7/01/13).

Women and men have different biological experiences. Women, having the major responsibilities for reproductive activities, have a particular interest in having their own washrooms. When men fail to understand the interests of women, they tend to ignore them. This means that women’s issues are not taken into account. Representational demands need to be linked to the process of building effective participation; that is to make the voice of particular constituencies of women louder in processes of policy making. Women and men are heterogeneous category; inside these categories exist diversity which has to be taken into account when performing evaluation and appraisal exercises (Goetz 2003).

Furthermore, there is an indication of absence of numerical data which is useful in demonstrating statistically female and male representation in staffing to help radio managers establish systematic barriers or other forms of discrimination. Although on its own, numerical data does not usually prove systematic discrimination, such data may be strong circumstantial evidence of inequitable practices existing in the radio stations. This would show radio managers that the majority of women, more than men, are underrepresented in senior positions and over-represented in entry –level positions.

More to that, it was also revealed through interviews that appraisal exercises were not organized in  good faith for employees to speak out their minds freely but rather, they were used as a method of silencing workers who happened to point out what was not going on well in the company. A female respondent in CBS FM expressed her concern:

 The exercise was not completed. Tension grew high as one of our fellow workers told our senior managers of the ways in which they treated workers differently (preferential and differential treatment). Some stood up and told her to fill another questionnaire and change whatever they did not like which she refused.  Some of us were given a pay increment; she was not. One of the senior managers told some workers that she had abused them. From that moment onwards, she started to encounter trouble with them until her employment was terminated with immediate effect (7/01/13).

If a worker does not say what the managers want to hear, he or she may not receive a pay increment and trouble is bound to occur to the extent of risking dismissal.  This implies that some workers may not be bold enough to say what they want for fear of what will happen later. Another meaning is that senior managers do not want to rectify where they have gone wrong because they want to hear only good responses. It also shows that even the radio managers do not know what is required in carrying out performance and appraisal exercises of their employees.  The exercise is supposed to be confidential and pay attention to each individual worker. In most cases the exercise is performed by people who may be neutral; those who are not within the company. As a result the whole exercise tends to lose meaning as the major objective of the exercise is not achieved.

4.2.4 Promotional opportunities

The criteria for promoting staff require internal advertisements indicating the required educational level and experience.  Promotion opportunities can take place in the following positions; the news anchor or reporter can become a news editor and finally editor- in -chief. By becoming editor- in- chief, the employee becomes the head of news. A Marketer can work towards attaining the position of sales manager, the title given to the person who heads the sales department.  The engineer or technicians can work towards becoming the head of that section. The presenters can aim at becoming the programs director.

Study results show that 46.3% and 48.9% female and male respondents respectively in CBS indicated that they lack knowledge of promotional opportunities. And that their senior managers take the decisions concerning who to promote in case a promotional opportunity is available. In Radio One, 43.9% female and 31.1% male revealed that they do not know the criteria they use for one to be promoted because the knowledge about promotional opportunities is in the hands of the general manager who is the owner of the radio. Whereas 9.8% female and 20.0% male in Capital FM also showed that the knowledge about promotion lies in the hands of the owner of the radio and not any other person.

It should also be noted that key informants stressed that the three radio studied do not have defined criteria for promotional offers. As one of the key informants from Radio One stressed:

                     It is rare. It happens when there is death of a fellow staff, when termination has occurred or resignation of an employee. There are few positions to compete for because this is a private radio station. The proprietor can decide to bring a new person from another radio station or elsewhere (18/2/13).

The existence of fewer positions in radios should not be used as an excuse to deny the workers the right to know about any prospect for advancement. The few positions are accompanied by unclear policy for promotion. In such circumstances, unconscious biases can flourish when there is little oversight or scrutiny and it is possible for one gender to dominate the higher or lower level positions without showing any concern from radio managers. High potential programs involve the identification of women and men who are thought to have the potential to advance and succeed in high level leadership roles. It is one way of ensuring that radios will have the right leaders, well prepared for key positions when they are needed. This is made possible by providing accelerated development programs to prepare radio workers, particularly women, for the responsibilities for future leadership roles because in most cases, opportunity for promotion often favors men due to developmental prospects, such as mentoring and networks.

More so, the research found out that some senior radio managers tend to deny women a chance for promotion even when they qualify to fill a senior position. A female respondent in CBS FM expressed her concern:

 We complain and we are still complaining to our managers about why they promote mostly men. When a chance for promotion would have gone for a woman, a man is brought from outside. Yet we have here women who are good performers (11/2/13).

This implies that some radio managers were less concerned about women’s advancement since there is no support from top management in helping women in radios to rise to the next level. Some women receive little or no encouragement to seek leadership positions. Radio employers need to be held responsible for results in recruitment, retention and promotion, priorities, policies and reward structures that in turn require accountability. In short, if radio managers and owners want the most able and diverse radio workers possible, the working environment needs to attract and retain them. They need to empower female radio workers. Promoting empowerment also requires radio managers to review their structures and procedures, to increase their accountability and responsiveness to the women whose empowerment they aim to support.  In her article, “Developing Gender sensitive Communication policies” Maria Del Nevo (2006) observed that the lack of organizational policies which take into account the pressures of women media workers with families, lack of professional training and opportunities as well as social and cultural constraints are amongst the most common problems facing women in the media.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (2008b) believes that the way a radio makes decisions about hiring, promotion and payment of female radio workers is strongly influenced by its culture and the gender stereotypes that underlie it. These assumptions and biases can result in radio managers overlooking talented women and limiting their access to the talent pool. This assertion is supported by Palermo (2004), who noted that attitudes towards women leaders are shaped by the organizational culture and the prevailing culture in most organizations is one that places less value on women’s contributions than men’s. According to Palermo (2004), hurdles to women’s advancement in leadership are encountered in recruitment and hiring processes and in job assignment, training and promotion activities, and adding hidden barriers to women’s progress. And that the under representation of women at the highest levels of organization is well documented and the processes are in place to ensure that the status quo is maintained.

Another female key informant from Capital FM draws a general comment:

 When employees see their co-workers being promoted, they become more aware of their own career opportunities. However, nepotism in hiring and promotion of relatives is common in radios; they have nepotism policies (04/2/13).

The above statement implies that radio employees have been demoralized by the way opportunities for promotion are handled by radio managers.  Radio managers promote people who are related to them. This means that suitable employees can be left out. Research findings indicated that the majority of radio managers were less concerned about women’s and men’s advancement.

Many radio processes in Uganda, particularly those related to promotion, advancement and reward suffer from a lack of transparency; often processes are insufficiently documented or formalized. This is common in radios where proprietors are more interested in maximizing proceeds rather than promoting social, political and economic empowerment of their employees especially women. This leaves room for interpretation by individual managers, inconsistent application and emergence of ingrained biases. Opportunities for development and experiences that prepare radio workers for leadership roles are often hidden. A Lack of transparency around processes and assumptions regarding female and male radio workers career ambitions and gender bias in the perception of women as leaders, lead to unequal access to development opportunities that are essential preparation for high level leadership roles.

According to interview findings, some women said that they had done everything possible to see that they move from one level to a higher level but to no success. For instance some have gone back to school as one CBS presenter claims: I have done everything; I have upgraded my education, I am always on time, I sit in for others but nothing has ever happened (11/2/13).

 It is often assumed that education is a way of getting to good jobs; better-educated workers tend to be more productive and able to perform functionally more sophisticated jobs than less skilled workers. But even when women advance in education, men receive more promotions in case they happen to be there. Longwe (2000) reminds us that even women who have education face the glass ceiling which prevents them from climbing to the top. In addition to Longwe, men seem to advance to higher levels because they are favored in promotional practices and women cannot advance even if they choose to do so (Estler 1975).

The majority of respondents indicated that qualification alone is not a sure deal for one to occupy a senior position in radios such as CBS and Radio One and those who are able to go for further studies do so in the hope that if an opportunity presents itself either within or outside the radio, they can be prepared to go for it. In addition, women are mostly affected in that they are perceived by their managers as less competent and are less likely to be promoted or are promoted at a slower rate than men with the same qualifications. It is therefore important for radio managers to be aware of how systems for promotion and advancement may result into obstacles for career progression.

4.3 Women and Radio Leadership

4.3.1 Can Women be Good Leaders in Ugandan Radios?

In this study, I have adopted Chemers’ (1997) definition of leadership as a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task in radio production. Successful leaders can be identified easily because they have the abilities, personality traits and interests that are different from those who are not effective leaders. The qualities of a good leader I used in this study include: intellective qualities such as decisiveness, intelligence, knowledge and judgment; personality qualities such as self-confidence; social characteristics such as cooperativeness and sociability; task-related such as initiative, achievement drive and persistence; and demographic characteristics such as education and age. Other qualities considered in this study include resourcefulness, friendliness, sensitivity, straight forwardness and composure. In the table below I explored respondents’ views on women and men’s leadership abilities in the three radios studied.

Table: 3 Women and Men’s leadership qualities

Leadership traits Gender Freq %
Intelligent Women 38 73.07
Men 14 26.93
Total 52 100
Faithful Women 42 72.41
Men 16 27.59
Total 58 100
Emotional Women 34 77.27
Men 10 22.73
Total 44 100
Rational Women 18 39.13
Men 28 60.87
Total 46 100
Transparent Women 23 58.98
Men 16 41.02
Total 39 100
Ambitious Women 12 22.22
Men 42 77.78
Total 54 100
Aggressive Women 28 37.33
Men 47 62.67
Total 75 100
Decisiveness Women 44 57.14
Men 33 42.86
Total 77 100

Source: Field


Findings show that the majority of respondents indicated that women can be good as leaders in the management of radios in Uganda. Respondents indicated that women 73.07% not men 26.93% are the more intelligent sex. Seventy two point forty one percent 72.41% respondents emphasized that women are more faithful than men 27.59% and that gender balance would be the best, based on merit and competence among others.

Also, 57.14% respondents showed that women are more decisive than men 42.86%. Some female and male respondents explained that women are straight forward and that if they make decisions, they stick to them, and therefore they can be as good leaders as men. Respondents further argued that women make good decisions when competing interests such as building interpersonal relations are at stake. The female and male respondents who supported having more women in radio management also stressed that women 58.99% are more transparent than men 41.02%.

More so, 77.27% respondents indicated that women are more emotional than men 22.73% and some said that because they are emotional they cannot handle the challenges associated with leadership.

On the other hand, findings showed that men make better leaders than women because they are aggressive, ambitious and rational. Sixty two point sixty seven percent of respondents argued that men make better leaders in radio management because of their aggressive nature compared to women 37.33%.  They continued to indicate that men are more rational 60.87% than women 39.13%.  Other respondents stressed that men are more ambitious 77.78% than women 22.22%.

More so, some female and male radio workers indicated that men make better leaders. They noted that for a leader to be effective, they must have qualities like aggressiveness, tough, rational and willing to take risks. And that those are the qualities found effective leaders as one male respondent from CBS said: Men are independent minded, aggressive and tough as compared to women who are emotional, soft and indecisive (11/01/13).

Another female respondent from CBS FM said:

 Men are men and will always be men because they make firm decisions. That is why they constitute the majority of leaders in companies and organizations. Men cannot be intimidated (11/02/13).

The interpretation of the above statements shows that some respondents’ minds are shaped by their own personal experiences. The experience of living in society that is full of male leaders and the workplace experience all combined made some of them to think that a leader has to be tough, rational and aggressive. Some women and men in CBS have grown up seeing men in most positions of power. To them, men are the only gender or sex that can handle leadership matters. Their minds have been veiled by the belief that leadership walks hand in hand with qualities like aggressiveness, ambitious, rational and being tough.

However, some respondents thought that female attributes of nurturing, being sensitive, empathetic, intuitive, caring, cooperative and accommodative are also increasingly being associated with effective administration. This is supported by Deemer and Fredericks (2003) who suggest that feminine traits and leadership styles are just as effective as the masculine style. They indicated that women can also be good leaders like men if they are given opportunities to participate in leadership based on merit. Proof of this lies in one male key informant from Capital FM. He talked about his general manager, who is a female:

 Her approach always makes you feel a sense of ownership to your work and as such, this brings the best out of you and ultimately, the radio succeeds (04/02/13).

One sports journalist from Radio One had this to say about Maria Kiwanuka, the general manager and proprietor of Radio One FM 90:

 The first thing I learnt about her was her awareness of what was happening in the industry she had come into. She was not only focused but very knowledgeable. She did not settle for second best and that is why she went out there hiring people she believed were good. Kiwanuka is result –oriented; she speaks to her staff with a parent-like approach and is always advising them in case they go wrong (18/02/13).

Women are socialized into being accommodating and not wanting to offend or embarrass people. Most of them are kindhearted. The existence of successful female leaders in Capital FM and Radio One is a clear indication that some women are very good. They have the ability of seeing things; they are very steady and not boastful and they network and ask for help if they have a problem. Some women can hold their positions smoothly, peacefully and successfully.

The way in which these few female leaders in radios have managed to be successful in their leadership style makes it possible to challenge Piterman’s view in which she suggests that women should adopt the male leadership style.   In order for women to be successful, they are required to fit the prevailing male norm of leadership, that because women are naturally non-violent by nature, they cannot make good leaders (Piterman 2008). Women’s non-violent nature therefore renders them not liable for management positions. This theory unfortunately is equally held by some women. It is claimed that since women do not possess the necessary ‘violent nature’ within them, they cannot handle challenges of radios.

Furthermore, it was also revealed that many women in the radios studied are committed to their work responsibilities. In this case, most women argue that their presence in management positions in radios can help in better decision making by being prepared for the management meetings. CBS chief accountant and the only female in a senior position attested to this:

  I remember going to a board meeting full of men. I was the only female there. They made it clear to me that they wanted the internal auditor (a man) to enter and explain to them. I proved my capability through my delivery of work to a point where they trusted me and I became part of the team (11/2/13).

Asked how she reached the position of a chief accountant, she said she was appointed after the resignation of the chief accountant who was also a lady. The belief that most women are faithful and transparent may be the reason why women in some radios are appointed to fill the position of the chief accountant.

The presence of a small number of women appears to intensify scrutiny of their performance and potential rather than mark their natural assimilation into leadership ranks. This cultural dynamic sees women as visible and therefore vulnerable to attack, particularly once they reach senior management level. Professor Kyomuhendo Bantebya of the school of women and gender studies Makerere University said that women who work in male-dominated fields face certain challenges, which affect their performance, retention and career success (New Vision Thursday, 1 may 2014). However, some women have managed to gain respect and acceptance by delivering better quality product.

Again another presenter from Radio one was overwhelmed by Maria Kiwanuka leadership:

 She has a non-discriminative nature. She has no stereotypes. She never judges people on the basis of religion, age difference, and tribe or skin color. To her, it is about your performance and to me that is a good trait in a leader (18/02/13).

Patience, success, courage, determination, persistence and being democratic are what respondents said about women managers. This is supported by Stone in Lott (1987:12):

                       The written literature and oral traditions of large numbers of cultures, spanning the continents, reveal differently. Women were once viewed as heroines, as strong, determined, wise, courageous, powerful, adventurous and able to surmount difficult obstacles to achieve set goals.

The meaning of the above statement leaves one puzzled as to why they are the minority sex in senior positions.  The answer to that puzzle is that the held cultural beliefs deliberately exclude women from public opportunities, certain kinds of professionals as well as decision making processes. The exclusion in turn renders women unable to demonstrate their capabilities and the whole society loses out in the process. Such an assumption is still part of the dominant ideology of our culture. So, culture makes women reject hierarchies because it favors men and also makes them feel that it is not their place to be in authority. Whereas it makes men and women accept that men are superior in leadership and management.

However, some female and male respondents in interviews said that women are the worst in management positions. They mentioned the names of some women who are very rude and non-sympathetic to their fellow workers especially those below them.  For example one female respondent from CBS declared:

 If … (name of person withheld)… was the human resources manager, we would be in trouble. You cannot tell her that I came late because my child is sick. Or she cannot listen when you are experiencing menstrual pains. She looks at it as part of you and that you should move on with whichever problem.  Men are sympathetic to those situations (11/2/13).

This reveals that some women in management positions focus on work alone. They make sure their subordinates perform as expected regardless of personal problems. And such kinds of attitude characterize a person but not women as a category. Sinclair (2007) argues that conceptions of leadership remain masculine and as a result women find that in order to be successful they are required to fit the prevailing norm of leadership (piterman 2008). Individuals over all continue to think of leadership as male oriented. For women characteristics associated with femininity are still not seen as positively affiliated with leadership characteristics.

According to table 3, generally it shows that the majority of female and male respondents believed that most women can be good leaders as their male counterparts. Margaret Kigozi, President Women in business, stressed that most women in business and professions are as able as any other (Daily Monitor Thursday, 12 December 2013). Women represent a resource that is still greatly underutilized. Their presence in top positions results in better quality decisions and consequently, the better financial performance of the firms (Fondas (2000). In addition to that better financial performance results as women have different experiences from the working and non-working life than men have (Smith et al (2003).

Inequality is societal loss as it hampers the growth and prosperity of the family and society, thereby crippling full development and potentialities of women. Such a state of affairs denies women to service their communities and country well Byrne (1978). Women have become a growing share of the talent available for leadership and they have distinct perspectives to contribute. So, in order to perform effectively in an increasingly competitive and multi-cultural environment, radios need individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and styles of leadership.

One can hold the view that leadership behavior is not related to gender. It has nothing to do with genitals or sexual organs either women or men can have good or bad leadership traits. So women should not be discriminated against on the basis of their sex but they must be given a chance to hold senior positions and opportunities to prove their worth. If a woman qualifies, she deserves a position whether one is a female or a male. It can be concluded that not all women make good managers. That holds equally true for men. With an open-minded perspective, a non-judgmental view of others is created, which results in a healthy working environment with a positive work culture.

4.3.2 Do Women in Radio production have Decision making abilities?

Who is good at decision making; women or men?

In the table below I explored respondents’ views about women and men’s decision making abilities











Respondents who indicated that female make better decisions than men cited qualities like resourcefulness, friendliness, sensitivity, straight forwardness and composure as characteristics women possess and use to make decisions compared to those who noted aggressiveness, intelligent, self confident, tough and inspirational as the qualities that make men  better at decision making.

In Radio One, 81.8% female respondents showed that female make better decisions than men. 33.3% male respondent chose women to be better decision makers and another 18.2% female respondents also noted men to be good decision makers 66.7%.

In Capital 70.0% female and 40.0% male showed that women are good decision makers. 40.0% male emphasized that men in radios are better at decision making. No female respondents showed that men are good decision makers.

The interpretation of data from table 5 is that female and male radio workers in Radio One and Capital FM believe women to have good decision making abilities. This is because these radio employees have been exposed to women as their managers. They have seen women practicing decision making and they have come to appreciate women’s leadership.

In CBS FM, the majority of female 65.5 % believed men are better decision makers. While 52.4 % male respondents maintained that female are better off in decision making than men. 13.8% female indicated that women make good decisions while executing their duties in the management and leadership of radios and 42.9% male emphasized that men make better decisions. In contrast to the above, 20.7 % of female respondents and 4.8 % of male respondents in CBS held that both men and women are equally good decision makers.

The majority of female respondents from CBS suggested that men are better decision makers than women. This is because they have limited exposure and experience in seeing women managers. So their minds have been masked to believe that it is men who can make better decisions for the smooth running of the radio. However, a gender specialist cannot accept the notion that some women accept that men are superior and decide not to compete with them. This cannot be concluded as “women’s weakness, lack of confidence and inferiority complex”, but needs to be understood in the context of traditional beliefs and cultural stereotypes.

Traditionally such views were and are still held by people in our societies (the private sector) where women were not allowed to stand and say something in the village meetings. A woman could not speak in the presence of men. Even in the homes, a woman was despised; she could not make any decision. If women are rare in the management of CBS, it means that CBS employees lack exposure to female managers and may end up thinking that it is men who are good decision makers. Women find themselves not having a say in the decision making processes where they are outnumbered by men. Gender roles commonly performed at home are reproduced in radios. Women’s roles are that of being subordinate to their male counterparts and male remain superior. Some women succumb to decisions and situations that are not beneficial to them and the way women were brought up makes them conform to the situation.  This discourages women. The saying that one sex is inherently better than the other at corporate decision making is exactly the kind of thinking that is keeping women in CBS in lower positions.

The Beijing Platform for Action (1995), considered the inequality between women and men in the sharing of power and decision making at all levels as one of the critical areas of concern for empowerment of women that, women’s equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women’s interests to be taken into account. Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all level of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved. It is equally necessary to point out that despite the gender inequality in the radios and beliefs held by some respondents, there are successful women managers. Therefore, decision making is a skill which can be learned by practice. Other women in radios need to be encouraged and provided the required opportunity to make decisions for themselves and others. Women and men are good decision makers provided they are given equal opportunities. The barriers that prevent female radio workers from making effective decisions are examined in the lines below.

4.4 Barriers for Women and men’s Progression to Senior Management Positions

Several factors were presented by both female and male respondents as the major barriers to women and men’s progression to leadership in Ugandan radios. According to this study, results showed that, 11.1% and 24.1% female and male respondents from CBS respectively stressed that sexual harassment within the work place prevents women from accessing management positions. This was also emphasized by 42.9% female and 33.3% male from Radio One and 50% female and 40% male from Capital FM. Findings from In-depth interviews revealed that there are substantial numbers of female radio workers who have faced a sexual behavior from their male managers that they did not welcome. This has come to the level of threatening their job security as reported by one of the female respondents from Capital FM:

 I was a news anchor at a certain radio but one day, my supervisor (a male) came at night as I was preparing to go on air he wanted to rape me. I fought him. After sometime, the News Editor passed on; the position had to be filled. I was the only one who had applied. My colleagues also seconded me since I was more experienced and qualified than any of them. My supervisor did not recommend me. A male employee was brought from another radio. He constantly kept threatening to sack me until I left (13/5/13).

This implies that female radio workers especially those who perform night duties are at the risk of being sexually harassed by male superiors. Female who do not accept to be exploited may not be given an opportunity to advance even when they have the necessary job requirements.

The above scenario of sexual harassment takes the form of hostile environment. The term “hostile environment” harassment stands for situations which occur from unwanted conduct, resulting in an uncomfortable and hostile working environment. Such behavior might be of physical, verbal or nonverbal kind. It might include touching, hugging or sexual remarks about a person´s clothing or body, sexual stories or the display of sexually explicit materials in the workplace (Sexual Harassment). In another incident of sexual harassment, one presenter remarks:

  I did an interview and passed it and I got a job. However, the male staff told me that the second interview was coming. Surprisingly, one of the male managers started to invite me for outings and the rest is history. I cannot say anything, especially when we are having staff meetings because he is financing me. Women should use what they have to get what they do not have (06/5/13).

The interpretation of the above statement means that poor pay may make some female radio workers accept sexual demands from their male bosses. Women experience sexual harassment in radios than their male counterparts. They are ‘blind folded’ by the sexual gifts’ like money from the harasser, so they cannot think of working towards self advancement. The harasser veils them to act as their financial solver and not a career promoter. This kind of sexual harassment is the “quid pro quo” harassment. It occurs when the harasser offers some benefits in exchange for sexual favors. These benefits might include a promotion, a pay raise and a good performance appraisal or avoidance of some less desirable outcomes such as termination or demotion. Most of the time, it is exercised by someone in a position of power over another.

Sexual harassment in this case is seen as a ‘two- edged sword’. Women who do not acquiesce to sexual advances from male superiors typically do not get promoted or they are frustrated out of the work force and female junior employees who have sexual relationships with senior managers, hesitate to forward women’s concerns to the management when there is staff meeting. This is a tactical move such managers use to silence some women who want to aspire for senior management positions within the leadership of the radio. It is also done with the existing belief that women belong below men and that they are merely sexual objects.  According to Hadjifotiou 1983:2, sexual harassment reinforces a view of women as playthings and sex objects, creatures which neither the employer nor male worker takes seriously. Hadjifotiou pointed out that unless these attitudes change demand from women for better pay, equal opportunities and positive action programs may fall on deaf ears.

Liberal feminists call for an end to sexual harassment as it has to do with removing obstacles to women achieving an equal level with men.

Also, 16.7% female and 34.5% male from CBS Radio argued that one of the internal factors responsible for women’s inferior positioning in radio leadership is the lack of self-confidence. Also, 16.7% female and 34.5% male from Radio One indicated that women lack self-confidence while aspiring for top leadership positions. In Capital FM, 11.1% and 24.1% female and male respondents respectively stressed that lack of self-confidence was also a barrier for women’s advancement. It should be noted that some women lack confidence to confront their male bosses for promotions. This was reported by one of the key female informants (office assistant) from Radio One: When one is tired of working for this radio, she will start to ask for promotion and pay increment (20/5/13).

This is a clear indication that some women cannot negotiate effectively for what they want or need with the hope of attaining it within their current employment. So, they remain passive and wait for their bosses to decide for them.  Research findings showed that more women suffered from a lack of self confidence than men. This means that confidence can hamper women’s career progression in radios in different ways.  A male anchor from CBS states:

 For six years of working for CBS, I had upgraded and I am still getting the same salary. During the appraisal exercise, I used that opportunity and put my managers to task to explain why they were not giving me a promotion or a pay increment because I was and still performing well. I said all that in the presence of the chief news editor (06/2/13).

Male radio workers appear to be more assertive when it comes to pay increment or promotion. Female radio workers, on the other hand, were less likely than men to make speculative job applications for posts for which they do not consider themselves fully qualified. Some women lack self value because they have been repeatedly told and trained to become inferior to men and ultimately, they do not only accept but also adopt, believe and propagate that indeed, they do not possess leadership skills. This is partly attributed to cultural prohibition on women’s efforts to cling to the top leadership in radio management.  Popplestone (1993: 102) had this to say about women’s reluctance to aspire for higher positions:

 Some women are reluctant to apply for senior positions because of stress. Their say being ignored, undermined, put down and devalued is stressful. We cannot deny the fact that management positions are stressful and demanding but the belief that women cannot cope undermines their ability and capability. The question is; why can they not cope if men do? And that the other challenge that efforts of ensuring gender equality face is the manner in which women perceive themselves, or rather, are made by society to perceive themselves and their gender roles.

Therefore, the lack of confidence, competitiveness, fear and failure are internal contributory causative barriers that prevent women from taking on leadership positions. Women who lack confidence are likely to opt out of potential leadership positions.

Respondents stressed that family responsibility and other domestic roles such as child and elderly care block women as they aspire to take up senior management positions. In Radio One, domestic roles such as family responsibilities were cited by 46.2% female and 46.7% male to have acted as a road block to women from accessing senior management positions. In CBS radio, the majority of female 56.2% and 54.2% male emphasized that domestic roles such as family responsibilities reduce promotional opportunities for women in the radio leadership. More so, in Capital Radio, 45.9% female stressed that women are regarded as home makers. 10.8% male emphasized that women have domestic roles as wives which prevent them from accessing top leadership positions.

The existence of domestic factors undermines public ideas about women’s access to and participation in senior management positions of leadership in Ugandan radios. Parents have concerns over their school going children and what arrangements they had made for their children during and after school hours. This may lead may cause job disruptions, distractions, errors and negative attitudes about promotion opportunities and lower job satisfaction. A female switchboard operator in Capital Radio was facing a lot of hardship to leave her desk in order to fulfill her home duties.  She contends:

 Time came when I was supposed to operate the switch board even at night. Working day and night, yet I had young ones to take care of presented a difficult time for me (13/5/13).

A common belief is that domestic roles are naturally and inextricably linked and that they are naturally performed by one person. As long as family issues are seen as problems for women, potential solutions are likely to receive inadequate attention in leadership cycles. The gender imbalance in family roles reinforces gender inequalities in career development. Women with demanding work and family commitments often lack time for networking and mentoring activities that are necessary for career advancement.  The domestic and parental responsibilities of working women have been proved as another obstacle for the entrance of women in all professions (Creedon and Cramer, 2007; Ross and Byerly, 2004). In the media industries, however, the problem is more acute since many of its professionals require around the clock availability part of the professional ideology of media workers is that news happens 24 hours a day, therefore, a journalist’s work_ like a mother’s -is never done (Creedon, 1993;53). Reporters are expected to be mobile and to travel anywhere on short notice.

It has been documented that a number of media establishments try to evade statutory responsibilities towards female employees such as night transport or dormitory facilities by excusing women from the night shift or using the problem of night duty to justify not hiring women (Ross and Byerly, 2004: 136).

This is explained by the factor of double standards in domestic roles. The domestic roles are deeply rooted in cultural attitudes and workplace practices. Working mothers are held to higher standards than working fathers. Working mothers are often criticized for being insufficiently committed either as parents or professionals. Those who seem willing to sacrifice family needs for work place demands appear lacking as mothers. Those who take extended leaves or reduced schedules appear lacking as leaders. Neither public attitudes nor work place practices support reversal of the traditional allocation of domestic roles.  . The fact that caretaking is still considered primarily an individual rather than a social responsibility adds to women’s work in the home and limits their opportunities in the radio. A study of women in middle management reveals that the majority of women turned down promotion offers due to their family commitments (Crawford, 1977 cited in Marvin 2000).

In addition to home duties, other female workers raised the issue of pregnancy as posing a challenge to them. Women’s biological roles and responsibilities are also an obstacle to female radio workers elevation to top positions in radios. Men feel that women may not serve well when they are engaged in child bearing. Therefore, few women are appointed to hold positions of leadership because it is argued that they may get pregnant. To make matters worse, even those who get pregnant do not get recommendable maternity leave. For example, in the three radios, maternity leave is only 21 days instead of 60 days and men are allowed to take four days paternity leave according to the law but they did not implement it to help their wives during the post natal periods because of work pressure and ignorance of the existing law.

Some young female who work at night sometimes lose their jobs when they get married or pregnant. One of the female respondents from CBS FM had this to say:

 My colleague got married and became pregnant. She had been working at night for more than 8 years. Due to her marital status, she asked for a change of shift from night to day. The program manager told her to look for some where she could fit that for him he had nowhere else to fix her. At the end of it she left work to save her marriage (06/5/13).

The above quotation is a clear indication that women’s issues are not taken into consideration and the radio has not come up with clear policy to protect pregnant workers and keep them at work. Working at night means a lot to pregnant women. It is not easy to get what to eat; the vulnerable state exposes them to sicknesses as a result of air conditioners. The mosquitoes bite them, which is very dangerous. They get malaria that can lead to pregnancy related complications like miscarriages and death.  Therefore, those who work at night have to consider the impact of having children (should they want any) on their careers. The stress, inflexibility and unmanageable time demands that result from workplace norms play a major role in women’s decisions to advance in their careers.

Interview findings also revealed that most of the radios are understaffed and this explains why many radio workers experience heavy workloads in their work. Some workers were supposed to be in the field collecting news stories and back to the station to read them.  Others keep around the station to read announcements from 05.00 am to 06.00 pm.   Occupants of front desks report to work at 08.00am to 10.00pm. The administrative assistants wait for their managers who usually leave offices late at 11.00pm. Switch board operators operate the telephone 12 hours inclusive of weekends. A male producer from Capital FM said:

 We were two producers; the other one left. Now, the work I do can be done by three people. These machines can really antagonize someone’s brain (13/2/13).

One cashier from CBS found herself in a fix and expressed her concerns:

 We were two cashiers; ever since my colleague left she has never been replaced. Now I am working alone. I have two sick children. I take one to Mulago Heart Institute and another one at Coshu, Kisubi. Yet, at the same time, I am supposed to be at work. Right now I am crazy (06/5/13).

A female a receptionist at Radio One also attests to this:

 I complained about being at the front desk while at the same time I was supposed to be at a health centre to have my child immunized. When I asked for permission from my immediate supervisor, I was told to find a person to sit in for me, something which was not possible (20/5/13).

It was not possible due to the fact that each employee is assigned a particular role to perform. Her supervisor knew she was not going to be helped simply because the workers are few compared to the many assignments they have to undertake. A front desk occupant is needed to take guests (those who talk on radios) to the studios, direct and organize appointments for clients, among other roles.  So, that person is supposed to be at her desk all the time.

The burden of understaffing in many Ugandan radios is felt by both female and male media workers.  They are overwhelmed by the heavy work in their radio stations. The respondents maintained that they cannot abandon work or find employment in other radio stations simply because there is little or no difference from what they are experiencing in their current radio stations.  They are working longer days and putting in longer hours.

However, the work load has some negative impact on women’s horizontal mobility; it impacts the time they have to invest on leadership or even time to relax. The dual burden of responsibilities in the work place and home was resulting in high levels of pressure. As a result of the dual work-family roles, the majority of women in radios either gets excluded or exclude themselves from key roles, projects and opportunities due to the work structure that influences the model of the ideal employee. An ideal employee is one who is always available to work long hours and make personal sacrifices for the organization and a culture that does not accommodate their needs. Some female radio workers were interested in attaining higher level management positions but the interactions between work and life outside of work, informed by expectations of women’s roles and behaviors in these domains, made it very difficult for women in radios to achieve leadership roles as they would like to. This is in line with what Powell (1999) mentioned, The typical executive job has enormous responsibilities, time demands and pressures, which eventually calls for considerable sacrifices in personal life.

Furthermore, another barrier that was cited by respondents was that of unfavorable traditional beliefs. 56.2% female and 54.2% male respondents from CBS emphasized that unfavorable traditional and cultural beliefs block women from getting to management positions in the hierarchy of radio leadership. In Radio One, 46.2% female and 46.7 male mentioned highlighted that cultural beliefs also hinder women’s progression into senior management positions. 62.5% female and 40.0% male in Capital Radio also maintained that cultural beliefs, including the belief that leadership is for men, severely curtail the opportunity for women to be leaders.

Female and male respondents from the three studied radios noted that the traditional beliefs and cultural attitudes regarding the role and status of women in society are still prevalent and many women are part of this system. And in these radios, men argue that leadership positions require hard work and long hours that are stressful for women. As one of the male respondents in Capital said:

 Take an example of one being a news reporter who travels extensively and sometimes they may spend the nights away from home. And for women, society (men in particular) sees it as a way of women meeting men (13/05/13).

It means that some female radio workers are denied the opportunity to utilize their talents in the name that they are women. The views of their managers and other radio workers are shaped by the perceived belief that women are a weaker sex. Ammu (2004:137) reports that the long, late and irregular hours and erratic, unpredictable work schedules that characterize the profession, and the mobility it often requires exacerbate the situation for women from conservative families or communities and those who cannot afford to hire full time domestic help (Creedon, 1989:187). The continuing controversy over women and night work exemplifies the dilemma of women who opt for non- traditional career in what remains a tradition-bound society for all but relatively small percentage of the urban elite.

Margaret Sentamu Masagazi reported that women who have broken the norm in Africa working as journalists traditionally seen as male job, have been labeled as “the impossible”, “rebels” and sometimes even as “prostitutes” (UMWA 1998).

Participation by women in radio production is also an issue. Radio broadcasting in Africa is still dominated by men. Female media workers’ access to leadership positions has been hindered by discrimination and stereotyping. Social norms, upbringing and values consciously and unconsciously influence and affect women’s behavior, attitude and expectations. That is, female were raised to be good, feminine girls. As girls, female were encouraged to co-operate and not compete.  In many places, there are still cultural impediments to women fulfilling the role of a radio journalist particularly, in relation to travelling away from home, evening work and covering issues like politics and sport which are felt to be masculine preserves. This view is supported by Williams (2000) in Still (2006), who put it that “Just as the institution of motherhood makes extraordinary demands on women, the institution of work makes similar demands. The  ideal worker is one who works 40 years straight,  relocates on demand, travels whenever the company needs him or her, works long hours (often 50 or  more a week) and needs no time off for personal issues or  illness.” Page 163.

In Uganda, women have been deeply involved in liberation struggles even if their presence has largely been undocumented. There are so many women in various sectors that have proved that they can deal with hostile and demanding situations. A case in point is Betty Atuku Bigombe, who risked her life to meet the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) boss Joseph Kony for peace talks. Captain Oliver Zizinga and Gertrude Norah Nanyunja Njuba among others played a significant role in the bush war of 1980’s of the National Resistance Army, now National Resistance Movement (NRM).

The misconception about women plays a significant role in decisions taken during promotion. The leadership structure in most Ugandan radios is designed on male norms and definitions. Society contends that it is strong masculine people who are imbued with strategies to cope with overly demanding conditions. But working in such environment that is masculine imposes various pressures on women in some radios and in turn leads to their reluctance to try harder.  The environment that is conceived and constructed thus, impacts on perceptions held about women. In addition, Sadie (2005) advanced the argument that at the bottom of the constraints that women face is the patriarchal system where decision making powers are in the hands of male.

The liberal feminists noted that to discriminate against women is to violate the principle of equality of rights and respect for human rights and dignity and that it is an obstacle to the participation of women on equal terms with men. Equal terms need to be sought even in the radios in which women participate. Therefore, they oppose the cultural beliefs that discriminate against female radio workers.

The interpretation of the findings of the overall barriers that affect radio workers to aspire to leadership positions is largely attributed to culture. Culture assigns women the values of hard work, proper behavior and focused more on women’s role as daughters, mothers and wives. Home duties are relegated to women whereas men are considered the bread winners; so culture relieves them of house hold chores. Child birth, breast feeding, teaching children and caring for husbands and elderly are all done by women.  Women perform most of the unremunerated domestic tasks such as shopping, washing, cleaning, cooking and child care and thus sleep shorter hours and enjoy less leisure than men. These feminine roles are praised and socialized through mass media, schools and families and establish “the model of ideal woman” which guides women’s lives. Women themselves internalize the oppression. Internalized oppression is the cumulative impact of male oppression of women in their psyche, conditioning them to act against themselves and to take this as normal and so try to stop any attempts to change this situation.

4.4.1 Coping Strategies

Some married radio workers noted that they have managed to come up with some solutions to their challenges in managing home duties with work. Some said that they were able to set priorities and managing time effectively, by making time for relationships both personal and professional, by getting up early to prevent starting the day in a rush, set out their work items and clothes for the next day, and take time to plan meals, chores and activities, since their work was flexible. For example, female marketers, presenters, news anchors. They can regulate their time. A presenter was allowed to go on air 15 minutes before the program in order to prepare for the show. With the rest of the time, they can remain at home and perform their marital duties.  The marketers and news correspondents can use their time to fulfill marital responsibilities without any interference from their managers as they can appear to be in the field, searching for business and news respectively.

Those whose programs are conducted in the morning hours said that they improvised by taking their children to boarding schools. Others were in a position of setting alarms and reminders in order to beat the time at work.  Time management is a critical leadership skill for radio business. The product the radio sells is its airwaves; its air is controlled by time. Any minute that is wasted means a very huge loss to the radio and its managers are held accountable for that loss. Keeping time becomes vital for any radio worker who may aspire for a promotion. No employer can think of appointing an employee who is not time conscious. One female announcements’ reader at CBS FM states: I decided to take my three year old child to a boarding school because I would wake up at 4 am and go back at 3pm (06/5/13).

Although some female radio workers had very hectic schedules with long hours, they were very passionate about their jobs. They wanted to utilize their considerable skills, so, they had to find ways of balancing family life and their careers. They are becoming more like men in their career aspirations and are more willing to see themselves as having qualities associated with authority. Yet, traditional gender stereotypes still leave many women with a double standard. Men continue to be rated higher than women by radio owners on most of the qualities associated with radio leadership as  shown in table 4.3 which depicts that men outnumber women in  positions of radio leadership.

 In the interview findings, other female respondents had the support of their partners like helping them to make decisions about how to they (women) can balance work and family. This justifies liberal feminists’ view that support marriage as an equal partnership and calls more male involvement in child care. For example on holding discussions together on what to do for their children, reaching a decision to get house helpers and fetching their wives to and from work.  CBS FM Chief Accountant and the only woman who sits on management, draws from personal experience:

 My husband picks me up if I am to work overtime. At times, I am pressurized to leave work late in order to accomplish some tasks (06/5/13).

Sometimes the office is too busy, so, senior managers can be forced to work overtime. It was found out that few men/ husbands are willing to subordinate their own careers to cooperate with their wives. However, with the cooperation of their husbands, women in radios can be able to devote time and effort on the performance of their work more efficiently and effectively.



















5.1 Summary of findings

This chapter presents the summary of findings and conclusions of the study on gender and leadership in the Ugandan FM radio stations.  The FM radio stations that were selected are; Central Broadcasting Service (CBS), Capital FM and Radio One. The chapter concludes the issues for consideration in form of recommendations. The study was comprised of a series of semi-structured interviews and an analysis of the proportion of women managers and non _executive directors and CEO’ s in FM radio stations in Kampala district. Liberal feminist theory was used to provide potential explanations for the persistent exclusion of women from FM radio top positions. The theory explains that male managers as the dominant group on FM radio boards may tend to give opportunities to men discriminating women. The theory further adds that women as the underprivileged group may internalize negative perceptions. The main objective of this study was to examine the gender representation in the leadership of Ugandan FM radio stations.

5.2 To investigate the factors responsible for positioning of different genders in radio leadership.

The majority of respondents revealed that work and life balance challenges can impact women’s advancement. As long as they are women, regardless of where they are working from, women (female radio workers inclusive are believed to be the primary caregivers for their children and the elderly. Assumptions are often made by radio employers regarding women’s availability to do their jobs without interference from family responsibilities. Having children brings a lot of responsibilities to a family life and for this reason; most radio employers hesitate to promote women because they are afraid that women will choose their families first. It is easier to quit a job than to quit being a mother (Stil 2006).  This means that balancing work and family responsibilities, particularly the responsibilities of child care, remains issues for female media workers and they have found themselves subsequently overlooked for promotion.  Professor Kyomuhendo Bantebya of the school of women and gender studies Makerere University noted that some women take on the mothering role; taking on the mothering role erodes women of their powers and responsibilities (New Vision Thursday, 1 may 2014).

In short, the common concerns about balancing family and work involve relationships, time and energy. This balance is very difficult to achieve because radio business has specific time and job requirements that must be met. Sacrifices are often made in the areas of home and family with public work taking too much time away from private work. While caretaking is not simply a women’s issue, most female radio workers have paid the highest price for their failure to address many domestic issues.  This is inline with the literature arguments which indicated that whereas women still carry out a nurturing role in the family and society, organizational structures and career progression standards are still based on a traditional linear male career model (Marvin, 2001). This model ignores women’s life experiences such as pregnancy and motherhood and is based on a full time career.

5.3 To investigate whether Ugandan FM radio managers have put in place gender sensitive practices for promotion.

Respondents indicated that no attempt even a single one to promote, encourage and mentor qualified aspiring women. When there are vacancies, radio managers do not approach women’s appointment files for appropriate women. Radio managers do not ask females to put their name forward so that they can at least be interviewed.

The study found out that radio managers have not done enough education and training to its staff and even themselves (they have not fully been enlightened on issues of gender). Education and training can work best along a strong proactive strategy to preventing and removing barriers to equal participation and effective policies and procedures for addressing program radio policies and procedures.

Radio managers have not been able to identify and address systematic discrimination in their policies, practices and decision making. Systems have not been designed to include all radio workers. Formal and informal systems have not been structured and so, they have not met the needs of all radio employees. Policies, practices and decision making processes that do not take into account the realities of all radio workers may lead to exclusion and result in systematic discrimination.

It was also found out that decision making process regarding recruitment and selection is not uniform and workers do not know the proper procedure for their recruitment.  It is inconsistent, not transparent, unfair, biased, not comprehensive and not objective. The fact that employees entered the radio through various channels means that radio employers do not advertise the jobs using diverse means. The use of informal processes tends to exclude potential women and men. That is why radio employers end up having women and men without the required educational levels and the majority of men in senior management positions and the majority of women in lower radio echelons.

It was found out that most respondents believe it is mainly a negative cultural thought responsible for the inequalities. They say it is the culture of the Ugandan society that determines the trend that we see where a huge number of men are leaders not women. The negative attitude towards women is instituted, promoted and sustained by the FM radio managers. The composed culture is then used as an instrument to maintain the status quo. The cultural barriers that prevent female radio workers from making effective decisions are; resistance and acceptance from their male counterparts, stigma attached to women as emotional beings and not logical thinkers, protecting them from getting exposed to decision making situations (male radio workers deciding on female radio workers behalf). Women in most radios in Uganda are perceived as possessions and known to be wives/mothers/caretakers and Uganda being one of a patriarchal society, men are dominant in decision making. Women who strive to take part in radio leadership are ridiculed as wanting to be men, money minded, ambitious, immoral and unruly. Women are shy, lack confidence and have a low self esteem.

Other barriers cited by respondents included limited social networks (formal and informal) for women such as membership in radio associations, resulting in a lack of recognition that leads to advancement unlike male employees who do network on an informal basis with their male colleagues from other radio stations.  Women with mentors are more likely to achieve career success, receive more promotions and advance at a faster rate. Mentoring programs provide access to high level people who can assist in getting women into the influential social networks that exist in the radios. This is important for female radio workers as they are less likely to have access to mentors through informal arrangements. Mentors may also encourage female radio workers to be more proactive about seeking new position and can assist managers with career planning for their staff and feed into succession planning for radios. However, the scarcity of women in senior positions means that any networks which are formed are unlikely to be as effective as those of men.


5.4 To analyze the benefits of having a gender balanced management in radio FM leadership.

The respondents indicated that women are able to create a good atmosphere in the board rooms which facilitates openness and generosity among the board members. Literature indicates that the presence of women on boards not only improves corporate governance but also changes the board room environment (Huse and Solberg, 2006: Rosener, 2005). This finding therefore means that women must be integrated in development plans and have a say in policy design and implementation (Parpart, 2000).

5.5 Recommendations

Several mitigation mechanisms are suggested to unblock the barriers female radio workers face in climbing to top leadership positions.  All responses were put under the following recommendations.

 Female leaders and female employees in FM radios

Women leaders in FM radios need to take an active role and stand up to inspire young female about human and women’s rights. They must be aware of what is going on. They must be empowered in such a way that they develop an eagerness to become future leaders.

Also women leaders in radios should provide mentoring relationships to their fellow women. Women with mentors are more likely to achieve career success, receive more promotions and advance at a faster rate. In addition, mentoring programs like sponsorship, coaching and counseling provide access to high-level people that can assist in getting women into the influential social networks that exist in the work place. Mentors may encourage women to be more proactive about seeking new positions.

Building self- confidence further enables women to unblock the barriers that they face as they aspire to take up top management positions in radio leadership.  It is therefore worthy noting that confident female media workers can help themselves make firm decisions and speak outright about matters affecting woman and the ways in which to solve such challenges.


According to results, sensitization was suggested to unblock barriers that women face as they are aspiring to take up top leadership positions in radio management. By sensitizing both female and male media workers and radio managers, it helps to embrace gender issues and making gender an integral part of all media activities. All stake holders including radio proprietors, managers and staff should be made gender aware. Government should take a lead by providing related guidelines for private radios to create a gender balanced workforce. To change the culture requires moving away from treating everyone equally to treating all differences equally. Gender equity should be taught and supported in radios so that the impact of traditional model on women’s orientation on their career and lives can be changed. Address entrenched bias and prejudice that deny women equal status through widespread grassroots initiatives. There is an English saying that “Charity begins at home”, so there is a serious need to give the girl child a re-orientation and a thorough brain washing to unveil her mind the environmental socio-cultural intimidation that inhibits and limits her worth, self assertion and actualization.

In addition to that, there should be a campaign to encourage a more equitable sharing of domestic tasks within the home between women and men. There is need for cultural and structural shift that would provide support for women (and men) with family and home responsibilities, freeing up more of their time and energies to devote to their work as leaders. At the same time, changes would also be necessary in the work environment to create a culture that recognizes the validity and importance of employees’ family responsibilities.

To socialize child care and domestic tasks, both women and men must share equally in house tasks and child care, whatever their social responsibilities and whatever the nature of their jobs. The role conflicts women face and their extraordinary efforts to cope with them must be widely recognized by the society.

As respondents stressed, creating women positions, better job descriptions and transparency among others would also unclog barriers women face in aspiring for top leadership positions. Strict rules governing staff would minimize barriers women face as they aspire to taking up leadership positions in radio management.

Women-only positions in the media institutions enhance women’s representation in decision making positions, thereby increasing the number of women in top positions and creating an opportunity for women to raise their issues and concerns.

Better job description, strict rules and transparency makes the terms and conditions of employment clear and thus reduce cases of sexual harassment and gender based discrimination in recruitment, selection and promotion of radio workers particularly in positions of power.

For transparency in the management of radios, gender based affirmative action should be harnessed by government to allow creation of women-only positions in media leadership. There is a need to interrogate patterns of administration and rule from a feminist perspective and insist on accountability to women as a serious issue in the management of media institutions such as radios.

Concerted efforts are also needed to introduce processes of articulating and aggregating women’s interests in important arenas like labor unions and in journalists’ associations. Iris Marion Young proposes that marginalized groups should have special representation; she calls it qualitative representation. For example, engage women in making policies.

 Radio owners and managers.

 Seasonal nurseries should be provided, located in the areas where women work. Medical care, meals and clean clothes should also be provided for in such places so that women are more confident to pursue their professional roles and can be better represented in an organizational hierarchy.

Radio owners and their managers should take into consideration the policies and programs which would advance gender equality, including leadership positions, giving female radio workers full and equal share in decision-making. Women in many radios continue to be underrepresented in decision making and leadership in several areas. The consequence of this gender gap is that female radio workers do not participate fully in decisions that shape their lives and radios are not capitalizing on the full potential of women. Women’s active participation in decision-making is essential in order to ensure that women can promote and defend their specific needs and interests. They can be prime actors in promoting gender sensitive policies in radios that address the interests of both women and men.

Training programs need to be done in ways of enabling female radio workers themselves to decide what their gender interests are and how to bring about change. Continuous and relevant capacity building trainings of women in all positions should be taken into account. This can be done through scholarships or through internal workshops and training. There is need for gender equality in distribution of opportunities and benefits. Training opportunities should be offered to all regardless of one’s position in the radio. Women should also be made aware of the promotional opportunities in order to have a vertical job segregation that is associated with an increase in pay due to promotion and more fringe benefits instead of horizontal job segregation that leaves women with a peanut salary and without any benefit attached to lower positions women occupy in radios.

Equal promotion and hiring of both men and women in radios management are greatly emphasized. Recruitment and appointment process should be publicized for radios to offer more opportunities for women to make their choice and competitive capacity. This could pave the way for a more competitive selection process.

Radio owners and managers need to consider the instruments that were put in place to accelerate equality. First, the Uganda constitution stresses gender equality and equality for all. The United Nations Report (2001) recommends institutional changes to establish gender equality in basic rights. The legal framework CEDAW, to which Uganda is a member through article 7 (a) and (b) and strategic objective (g) of the Beijing platform of action, all is geared towards effective participation of women.

5.6 Conclusion.

“Culture is changing slowly; female leaders have come to symbolize new types of leadership that connote greater effectiveness and synergy than leadership of the past” (Adler 1999).

In line with the quotation above, it was found out that many female possessed the necessary characteristics to be very effective radio leaders. This is because women’s characteristics have changed. They have shifted more of their time from domestic to paid labor (women managers delegate the house work and child rearing responsibilities to the full time employed maids). Women’s increased human capital investments, women’s psychological attributes and related behaviors have changed and the value that women place on job attributes such as freedom, prestige and power have enabled women to become more like men in their career aspirations and achievements and are more willing to see themselves as having qualities associated with authority. The two female managers of Radio One and Capital FM have proved to be successful radio entrepreneurs.  Therefore, the dismal number of women in the Ugandan radio leadership provides an indication that the number of women













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