Media Development Investment Fund’s Myanmar Media Program (MMP) has published a report surveying inclusion and gender in Myanmar media outlets and providing practical tips on incorporating inclusion practices into business operations.
In Good for Business: Creating Inclusive Media Businesses in Myanmar, MMP makes the case for inclusion: not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense as, when done well, it improves performance, increases creativity and innovation and results in better financial returns.
MMP’s survey of 35 private media outlets in Yangon and seven ethnic states and five regions found that while many women work in media (33% of staff), they are underrepresented in key roles, including senior leadership and frontline journalistic jobs. The problem is particularly acute in the regions.
“Fostering inclusion in any workplace requires leadership buy-in and, often, a cultural change, all of which takes time,” said Tessa Piper, MDIF’s Program Director for South East Asia. “This is as true in Myanmar as in any other country. Through our inclusion program, our goal is to facilitate the establishment of more inclusive policies in the media with which we are working. Not simply because it is a core aspect of good governance, but also because a diverse and inclusive workplace is good for business.”
The survey also finds that women tend to be paid less than men and confirms a lack of diversity among media workers with regards to disability, LGBT+, ethnicity, religious belief and age.
The report shares the experiences of several minority media workers and the reflections of four senior media and advertising executives about the value of having inclusion policies and practices and the implications of failing to do so.
“This is not short-term work, and the impact is not always immediately evident,” says Ms. Piper. “It takes time to take on board new concepts and to find ways of incorporating them into a workplace in an appropriate way. For this to be successful, it is critical that any action taken is determined by the media personnel themselves. The good news is modest changes are taking place, and MDIF is committed to continuing to work with those partners who recognize the value of embedding inclusion into their organizational make up.”