Bruktawit Ejigu Kassa finalises PhD on media policy and promotion of gender equality in Ethiopia

28. July 2022
Bruktawit Ejigu Kassa
APPEAR scholar Bruktawit Ejigu Kassa reflects on her research findings and her experiences as a researcher in Austria.

I have always been interested in the power of media in shaping people’s attitudes and perceptions of gender and gender relations. Depending on the ways that they are used, media have critical roles to play in either supporting or sabotaging the struggle for gender equality. Several studies have documented and analysed the ways in which women have been effectively put in disadvantaged positions both in media content and media decision-making. However, studies that examined the role of media policy in supporting or discouraging women’s disadvantaged positions in and through the media, particularly in the case of Africa, were missing. Therefore, I chose a project that investigated the policy framework and the general media governance structure in relation to gender and the inclusivity of civil society organizations in the formulation and implementation of media policy that recognises gender equality and inclusivity. More specifically, my PhD project investigated the role of media policy in the promotion of gender-equal media in Africa by using the case of Ethiopian media policy. The findings of my study indicated that gender perspectives have occupied a marginal space in the governing arrangements of media in Ethiopia. Also, the results of my study showed that a combination of political, cultural and economic conditions have influenced the integration of gender perspectives in media policy in Ethiopia. My study presented a framework for state actors to identify gaps in the current media governance structure in Ethiopia and ways of addressing the gaps. It informed Ethiopian policy-makers on how gender dimensions have been integrated and/or marginalized into media policy in Ethiopia. Therefore, the study can contribute to an improvement of future policymaking in Ethiopia.

The scholarship has shaped both my personal and professional development. While I was pursuing my PhD in Austria, I met people who came from different countries. This gave me the opportunity to learn about other cultures and perspectives on different issues. Thus, the scholarship offered me a space to cultivate my intercultural communication. At the same time, my professional life has grown as I was able to do collaborative work with my supervisor Prof. Kathrine Sarikakis as well as other colleagues. I have produced several peer-reviewed publications. I also attended international conferences where I presented my research findings. This offered me the opportunity to network with several communication scholars working in different parts of the world. 

In the future, I plan to continue my teaching career at Haramaya University. I will also publish some more articles from my dissertation. In addition, I hope to write a project proposal that involves Haramaya University and the University of Vienna.

Bruktawit Ejigu Kassa from Ethiopia received her PhD in Communication from the University of Vienna, Department of Communication on 5 July, 2022. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Teaching English Language from Haramaya University, Ethiopia in 2004, and completed her Master's degree in Journalism and Communication in 2008 at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Before joining the University of Vienna, she was a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass communication at Haramaya University, Ethiopia. Also, she served as the head of the Department for three years.


Kassa B.E & Sarikakis K (2021) Shrinking communicative space for media and gender equality civil society organizations. Journal of Feminist Media Studies.

Kassa B. E, Kolokytha O., Korbiel I., Rozgonyi K., Sarikakis K. (2021) Media Governance, supranationale Medienpolitik und Feminismus. In: Dorer J., Geiger B., Hipfl B., Ratković V. (eds) Handbuch Medien und Geschlecht. Springer Reference Sozialwissenschaften. Springer VS, Wiesbaden DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-20712-0_26-1

Kassa B. E & Sarikakis K (2019) Social media trivialization of the increasing participation of women in politics in Ethiopia. Journal of African Media Studies (11) 1. DOI: 10.1386/jams.11.1.21_1

Kassa B. E, Kolokytha O., Korbiel I., Rozgonyi K., Sarikakis K. (2019) Medienindustrie und Geschlecht: Ökonomische und machtpolitische Aspekte globaler Medienproduktion. In: Dorer J., Geiger B., Hipfl B., Ratković V. (eds) Handbuch Medien und Geschlecht. Springer Reference Sozialwissenschaften. Springer VS, Wiesbaden DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-20712-0_27-1

Kassa B.E & Sarikakis, K (2018) Mainstreaming Gender into Media: The African Union Backstage Priority. IN; Servaes J. (eds) Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change. Springer: Singapore