…Mary-Ann Acolatse Speaks
By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Mary-Ann Acolatse, a female broadcast-journalist of high repute, has pointed at an uneven playing field that frustrates the smooth progression of women working in the media though the situation is unintended.
“With regards to training and basic job opportunities the field is leveled for both sexes but when it comes to career progression, certain roles and ownership - there's cause for alarm”, Mary-Ann, Managing News Editor at Starr FM told NEWS-ONE.
“I don't believe that there is deliberate systemic distortions at work targeting women in the media to remain out or at the base of the profession. But the general patriarchal settings that construct economic, social and professional power relations perpetuates the evil cycle of marginalizing women at all levels - this phenomenon cuts across all sectors or industries
“It is an open secret that women in the media just as other industries earn lesser than their male counterparts of same rank or pedigree. Women in the media hardly occupy the high and powerful positions at the top - it's just a few brave ones who often do so at the peril of their marital or social lives....whereas many remain bottom or hardly can see a natural progression to the top through merit unless through the difficult and sometimes less dignifying back door negotiations,” Ms Acolatse explained further.
She continued: “You can scan around and see the evidence abound - we have a tall list of radio, tv and newspaper operations in the country but how many women do we have in these organizations leading as managing editors or chief editors, news directors, managing directors, CEOs or owners of media properties.”
Currently, she is the Group Managing Editor of EIB Network, operators of Starr Fm, Live FM, Kasapa, Ultimate Fm, Agoo Fm, Empire Fm and Daily Heritage newspaper.
Mary-Ann had also worked at TV3 as Director of News and Current Affairs and help top management positions at Joy FM, Multi TV and Metro TV.
In the interview with NEWS-ONE, Mary-Ann said her experience in the media has taught her it is a tough job at the top for women because “ the fine skill set required to drive excellence and profitability in a competitive market with limited pool of compelling talents can be daunting!”
Mary-Ann strongly posited that “the nation stands to benefit hugely when the space is freed up for more women in the media to be seen and heard as powerful voices of influence - not just as sexual objects adorning newspaper front pages and television screens.”
She said “women as decision makers - Editors, Managers, Media Owners etc will significantly lift the caliber of media practice to the standards we aspire to have as a country.
“Though there are exceptions to the rule, I believe women's natural disposition tilt to nurturing, caring and calculating in their actions and impacts and therefore women are less likely to run amok in what I term ‘adventure journalism’. When sensational and serious content share same commercial value - women will still invest in programming that supports nation building and rich public life than riotous publications and broadcast aiming mainly to sell at all cost damn the consequences!”
She holds a Masters degree in Journalism from the Cardiff University in the UK under British government's chevening scholarship program and Executive MBA in Marketing from University of Legon's Business School.