Media should do away with negative stereotypes of women in insurance

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BY Tafadzwa Chidoori

For long Insurance and financial reporting has been the domain for man. Very few women practice fidnancial and insurance reporting in Zimbabwe. Risk and Insurance Zimbabwe (RI) managed to have a talk with one young lady who managed to expunge into the field of risk and Insurance. Her name is Sharon Sigauke, many people might know her for her unrelenting reportage of women development in some of the popular online news outlets like, Her Zimbabwe, This is Africa and Mobile Community Zimbabwe.

Born in a family of 8 girls and 1 boy, and being  the seventh born, she could have decided to take a career in any one field her elder sisters was, but she chose to study Journalism. And journalism being quite a diverse field she could have specialized in Entertainment, Sports, Leisure, Arts and Culture and or Technology reporting but she chose insurance and financial reporting.

So what made this National University of Science and Technology graduate in Journalism and Media Studies decide to explore risk an insurance reporting.

“Recently I decided to break into new ground by reporting on Insurance because female journalists have not been visible in that sector,” Sharon said.

Sharon Sigauke

Above all Sharon’s motivation was the desire to demystify the view that insurance reporting is the domain for men. Her outer ego saw a dire need to challenge this misconception and show what women are made of.

She however noted that there were still a number of stumbling blocks for her to help effectively challenge these misconceptions.

“The main challenge hindering women from reporting on Insurance is that such beats have mostly been reserved for men who predominantly report on business. As such, lack of knowledge and disinterest has led women journalists to focus on other areas,” highlighted Miss Sigauke.

The dominance of men journalists in reporting of insurance and financial issues according to Miss Sigauke could also be witnessed in the reportage of insurance issues in the media and the number of women sources quoted in the news articles.

Sharon argued that despite the fact that over the years a number of women like Grace Muradzikwa, the General Manager of Nicoz Diamond, have been taking up and holding key leadership roles in the insurance sector this was not concomitant   with women’s’ voices as official or expert sources on insurance issues in the media.

“In terms of news sources, the dominant voice is the male and rarely do we have women in the sector as authoritative figures. This can be attributed to the negative stereotypes associated with women. They are regarded as being incapable of providing knowledgeable information.”

“In addition, since male reporters are the ones who dominate business reporting, they tend to trust other men as their news sources,” she said.

Sharon said it was her mission to ensure that women are represented in the media. She however noted that this was not a struggle she could fight on her own but needed more female journalists to get the job done.

“More women need to be trained in insurance reporting so that they may be more confident in writing articles. There is need for a mindset shift among male journalists such that that they will have faith in women in the insurance sector.”

All being said Sharon believes that the ball is in the women’s’ court and, “Women need to believe in themselves first before anyone can believe them.”

 

** This article is part of the Women in Insurance Month series by Risk and Insure Zimbabwe (RI), where RI  has dedicated the month of 08  March – 08 April to write about the issues affecting women in insurance

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