media update’s Nakedi Phala discusses the journey of women occupying top posts in media industries across the board, particularly in South Africa.

Even during tough economic times, female-driven media houses, PR agencies and marketing agencies have proven, beyond doubt, that they can lead, even through the most challenging circumstances.

Here are three traits that make these women phenomenal game changers in the media industry

1. They’re courageous

When we take some time to rewind, we quickly realise that the labour system in the past discouraged women and designed jobs specifications that excluded females from being in leadership positions.

However, through time, things are starting to turn around. When one of South Africa’s fearless women — Basetsana Khumalo — established her own media production company, Tswelopele Production, it was a clear signal that the times were beginning to change. The production house produced the likes of Top Billing on SABC 3, and Pasella, an Afrikaans lifestyle show, which aired on SABC 2.

Despite evolving content preferences of audiences, Khumalo continued to succeed and created one of the most enjoyed TV shows, Date My Family.

Essentially, women have to draw on inner strength in order to prove their capabilities, and they have to be courageous enough to say ‘I can do this!’ against all odds.

2. They’re women of vision

Due to years of living in a world driven by the patriarchy, the generalisation is that directors, CEOs or even managers are and always should be males. It’s still a dark cloud that mystifies the perception that a female counterpart in these positions is taboo.

Another phenomenal woman that broke this myth was Mapi Mahlangu. She took over as eNCAs managing director and editor in chief, starving through the industry as an underdog serving in various capacities at eMedia Investments and handling executive affairs of a broadcast station.

Mahlangu took over the reins from the well-experienced Anton Harber. With her leadership, she continues to see eNCA through and through, helping the station deliver authentic journalism that is reliable.

During her tenure, she was able to restructure the spine of new broadcast sets, appointing reputable media players and promoting key staff members who have been loyal to eNCA for years.

Mahlangu had made it her mandate to foster the channel’s presence on an international coverage. She left the show on a high with the introduction of new shows such as: CrimeWatch, Chester Missing and Madam Speaker.

Mahlangu is a woman driven by courage, and she believes that education plays a big role in acquiring big titles within the media industry. She’s currently studying towards her MBA in order to return to the game sharper than ever before.

In her journey, there is a lot to inspire young women looking to grow in the media industry and make it onto boardroom meetings, as leaders.

3. They work twice as hard as their male counterparts

The media industry gets a bit tense for women sometimes, as they often have to go above and beyond to prove that they are capable of doing a ‘man’s job’. Women tend to throw in twice the effort in order to see things work.

However, this has helped them dominate the media space, as we now see more women as news readers on our TV channels, more content producers and even sport anchors and presenters.

Again, another beat that has been for years perceived for men is sports journalism. However, some women have joined the game, and through hard work and fighting stereotypes that ‘only men can’, they’ve gone and changed these perceptions.

Dubbed the ‘sisters of sport’, Julia Stuart, Mpho Letsholonyane, Kass Naidoo and Carol Tshabalala have become regulars in the world of sports journalism. These women have excelled in delivering sport commentary, news and analysis — and they’ve gone to own this space. Their success has attracted younger women and has grown a keen interest in this field of media.

And today, it’s become a norm to switch on the telly and find a woman is making commentary on your favourite soccer game!

What do you think of the current success of women in the media industry? Let us know in the comments section below.

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