The Sunday Mail
IT is a Monday afternoon, just before the popular Blitz news bulletin on Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN).
A female anchor is either dancing or thinking aloud, leaving some of the station’s crew in stitches.
This is your Itai Mutinhiri laid bare, off-camera.
And then the next minute, she is totally in charge.
She has managed to calm the nerves of everyone and now demonstrates why she is one of the rare talents in news reading.
On another channel, she could be your typical Kelly Brook. At ZTN, she is just bubbly Itai, albeit a 2.0 of the Kelly version from all positive angles.
“I love the camera and I feel it loves me too,” Itai explains, clearly excited.
“I don’t hide who I am and I may sometimes appear crazy, but it’s simply a positive attitude that keeps me going.”
As ZTN joined the world in celebrating International Women’s Day on Tuesday (March 8), to “commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women”, she was in mind.
And she is just an example of the many great women at the station, standing up to be counted in an industry previously dominated by men in Zimbabwe.
“We have seen in the past media people going far, especially men. I’m hoping to be part of the future leaders as a woman,” she says.
“If women are given big responsibilities at workplaces, it will help them reach their full potential.”
So, as Itai goes about her pre-live escapades, the biggest beneficiary is always the sound engineer, Denyse Bernard.
“Itai zvakwana (it’s enough),” she speaks from the control room, realising the soundcheck could become a complete bulletin.
Denyse, in many ways, is an advocate of order, forced to join a field which many women dare to enter.
She admits she feels discriminated against by outsiders, whenever ZTN goes for some outside broadcasts.
“It’s like they don’t have faith in a lady doing sound engineering, because they are used to men.
“After they see you doing your job well, they act surprised and they start asking so many questions,” Denyse says.
She adds that with the support she gets from fellow workmates, she is determined to be better.
Charmaine “Chacha” Chasweka says while people will always not be at the same level in terms of skills, she has been offered an opportunity to go against the grain. At 24, she has had her fair share of “Goliath moments” as producer and presenter for the “Gara Mumba” show and as sports anchor.
“Being the youngest anchor isn’t really easy. It has been a challenge for me, but a good one . . . You are expected to deliver, regardless of age and gender. At the end of the day no one really looks at you differently,” says Chacha.
The UN Secretary-General’s recent report on the matter highlighted concern on women being “underrepresented in public life and decision-making”.
Current affairs producer, Nomsa Bande, feels at home in her role.
“I don’t feel like producing has ever been gender-defined. I feel it’s an equal playing field that allows you to tackle anything as well as take blows.
“At the end of the day, it just comes down to whether you are ready to play ball. If you are, then you are set,” she says.
Areas of inequality, depending on different workplaces, are diverse.
The UN estimates that generally, ‘nearly 60 percent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty’.
ZTN could just be a glimpse of the women’s situation in Zimbabwe’s media, but not conclusive. Other ZTN women making a big difference in the previously male-dominated areas include the likes of Mirirai Nsingo, Samantha Gurira, Carol Mhene, Prudence Mpofu, Sandra Kaunjika, Tafadzwa Ndamuka, Tafadzwa Zaranyika, Doreen Muranganwa and Carol Marufu.