Gender and equality : male broadcasters' perceptions of gender-based affirmative action at the SABC KwaZulu-Natal.
The end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994 brought with it the task of redressing past discriminatory practices. The Employment Equity Act (No. 55 Of 1998) passed in 1998 stipulated that designated employers implement affirmative action in order to provide equal employment opportunities to all including the previously disadvantaged or designated groups who are primarily blacks, the disabled and women (Charlton and Niekerk, 1994:. xxii). Affirmative action is not something to be done for political expediency and fear of legislation alone. Shifting markets and consumer needs require demographic representation at all levels in the organization. Addressing the incredible shortage of available skills, compounded by the tendency not to grant equal employment to designated groups who already have skills, suggests the need for demographic considerations in terms of long-term employment needs. Bringing human resources up to world-class standards will mean addressing the deficiencies that have emanated from the apartheid system. This study focuses on the relationship between gender, equality and the concept of affirmative action. The purpose of this study is to investigate the perceptions of South African male broadcasters towards affirmative action especially where the policy is targeted towards women. Male broadcasters at SABC KwaZulu-Natal are used as case studies. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) not only embraces affirmative action but also reports on it. Previous studies on affirmative action in media institutions tend to focus on women and thus this study uses men as case studies to make this area of research more complete. South African men are not a homogenous category. There are class, racial, religious, language, urban/rural, cultural and age lines of division among them (Nzimande and Sikhosana, 1996: 82). This being the case, the study investigates the different perceptions held by South African male broadcasters of different races concerning gender-based affirmative action. Issues discussed in this study include: • Understanding of the concept affirmative action • Need for the implementation of affirmative action • Perceptions ofmen towards work Men and power in organizations • Perceptions towards management • Perceptions towards female broadcasters • Perceived factors that hinder women from upward mobility • Possibilities for informal discrimination Studies on affirmative action have more frequently than not been examined in the context of feminist theories, for example, Susan Manhando's study (1994), 'Towards affirmative action: Issues of race, gender and equality at the SABC: Case studies of Natal women broadcasters' and Farhana Goga's (2000) 'Towards affirmative action issues of race and gender in media organizations: A study on South African media organizations,' to cite but two examples. This study moves beyond this rubric to include both patriarchy and masculinity theories as part of the theoretical framework upon which data analysis is interpreted and discussed. I see the findings of this research as the basis for further investigation into perceptions of South Africans from different races towards affirmative action policy.
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