Over three quarters of the media in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is by or about men. When women are in the media, it is almost always in the role of mother, victim of violence, housewife or model. Fédération des Radios de Proximité de la R.D. Congo (FRPC) wants more equality between men and women in the media; both when it comes to the makers as well as the topics of the program.

Free Press Unlimited and FRPC provide female journalists with equipment and give the required training so they can get working independently. This is an important step, because women are dependent on men when it comes to technique. Apart from the fact that women have less knowledge, it is usually the men who own the recording and montage equipment.

Women central in media productions

The trainees put their recently gained knowledge and skills immediately into practice and each made a program with women in the leading role. The media productions deal with topics such as political participation of women, technical secondary education for girls and access to drinking water. The programs were broadcast by community radio stations where the journalists worked. In 2016, the FRPC trained 80 journalists from four rural provinces in DRC. 72 of them wore women, one of whom is Rachel Bilonda.

Female journalists at radio station

Rachel Bilonda van Radio Diku Dietu: 'First I was naive, and occasionally too tolerant when it comes to unjust distribution of roles at home and in the radio station where I work. Since the training I have more confidence to challenge the prejudices about female journalists and women generally. I now take much more charge of my career and life.'

More positive image of women in the media

Through the training and programs, FRPC wants to encourage inhabitants of DR Congo to think critically about the role and image of women in the media and beyond. Because media where men and women have an equal role, can give women more confidence and inspire them to claim their rightful place in other areas too.

Anna Mayimona Ngemba is founder of the Congolese Union of Women in Media (UCOFEM). Her organisation aims to improve gender equality by a higher representation of women in the media: "Women must not keep quiet, they must talk so people hear about them."