WIN Sexual Harassment Study 2020

WAN-IFRA Women in News and City, University of London are conducting a major research study into sexual harassment in the media workplace in select countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region and Southeast Asia. This study builds on research done in 2018 which identified a gap in available data on sexual harassment in media specifically in these regions. 


– To better understand and raise awareness about the extent of the problem of sexual harassment in the media industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region and Southeast Asia

– To contribute to global data on sexual harassment in the media industry, by filling these regional data gaps

– To enable informed, evidence-based responses to sexual harassment in the media industry

WAN-IFRA Women in News has been working to increase gender equality and tackle sexual harassment within the media industry in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region for over ten years. City University of London has an extensive background in research on gender related issues within the media industry. In 2019, they carried out research on sexism and sexual harassment in the media in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. This is a collaboration between both institutions, combining their expertise on the issue and work in the region.

Background to the study

This study stems from previous research that was conducted by WIN in early 2018 on a small sample of 119 media professionals in 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Region. WIN surveyed its participants and media partners on sexual harassment, in particular, detail related to policies on sexual harassment in the workplace and personal experiences related to sexual harassment, among others. 

Following findings to this survey, WIN published its first sexual harassment toolkit: Sexual harassment in the media: A practical guide for employers and employees. The toolkit includes a handbook on how to identify and deal with sexual harassment as an employer or an employee, a sample sexual harassment policy and procedures, a poster and a sample survey.

Based on its previous survey, WIN noted that there is a large gap in data about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the media industry. Data about sexual harassment in the news media industry that does exist is predominantly focused on the Global North and there is very little credible and comparable data for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region or Southeast Asia. The results of WIN’s own surveys were stark. Used in the Sexual Harassent Toolkit and WIN trainings, existing data has been fundamental in convincing media organisations and professionals in both regions to acknowledge a problem and to engage on the issue of sexual harassment. 

Research focus

1- Media professionals’ experiences of sexual harassment, reagrless of their gender or hierarchy

2- Media organisations’ perceptions of the extent of problem of sexual harassment

Geographical scope

Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Arab Region: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon

Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam


Survey of media professionals: An anonymous 10-15 minute survey. The survey will focus on media professionals’ experiences of sexual harassment in the media industry. It is targeted at all media professionals regardless of their gender or hierarchy or whether or not they have experienced sexual harassment in the past. It is being distributed by media organisations and regional and national media associations or industry partners. Survey links for the different regions/countries and languages are as follows:

Sub-Saharan Africa Sexual Harassment Survey: 

You can pre-register to participate in the Arab Region, and Southeast Asia Sexual Harassment Survey when it comes available later this year:

Interviews: Semi-structured interviews with media executives focusing on their perceptions about the problem of sexual harassment. Findings will be anonymised and no organisation will be named.


Findings will be presented in a report published at the end of 2020. The data will also be open access and made available to the public download.

If you are interested in possible partnerships on this research or simply finding out more please contact Rebecca Zausmer


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