Primedia Broadcasting’s CEO, Terry Volkwyn, was awarded top honours at the 1st for Women Insurance Company Women of the Decade in Media Award on Thursday, taking the award after being nominated twice before in previous years.
Rising Star award went to Highveld Stereo DJ Anele Mdoda, while there were two Lifetime Achiever winners, journalist Peta Thornycroft and media researcher Beatrice Khubeka.
“I’m relieved to have won,” Volkwyn said, to a background of cheers and clapping, particularly from the Primedia table. ”The pressure from my team has been enormous!”
Volkwyn beat out major talent from City Press editor, Ferial Haffajee, and CEO of Media 24, Esmare Weideman, both phenomenal finalists in the annual awards event.
CEO of Wag the Dog Publishers and publisher of The Media magazine, Sandra Gordon, organiser of the Women in The Media awards, said she would continue hosting the awards as long as their was a glass ceiling hampering women working in the media.
She said the finalist in this year’s awards, which took into account the past decade, were recognised “recognised because they are female and thus historically disadvantaged, but because as people, they have added immensely to the media landscape and to our fledgling democracy”.
“These women have impacted not just on the media but on society across the social, political and economic spheres, “ she said. “They are no shrinking violets.”
After judges (who were members of The Media’s editorial board) had reviewed all the women who had been nominated, and won, the award over the 10-year period, the final three stood out.
They were then given a question to answer: What are the best and worse case scenarios in terms of the South African media landscape. The answers were illuminating – the video clips of all three women’s replies will be available on YouTube soon – but at the heart of what they all said is without a free and independent media, we’re lost.
Robin Farrell, CEO of 1st for Women Insurance, the headline sponsor of the event, said she was reading Jane Raphaely’s autobiography, ‘Unedited’. She said it wasn’t too long ago that women working for media companies weren’t allowed to join pension schemes as they were supposed to be on their husband’s.
“Things have changed, an women have taken charge of their financial affairs. But they have also stayed the same,” she said. “A Genderlinks study recently showed there is a glass ceiling for women in the media, there is also a gender wage gap.” There are also fewer women’s voices in the media, particularly in terms of quoted as sources or experts.
“As Sandra says, she will stop the awards when the need for them ceases to exist,” Farrell said. “These awards make a difference.”
While the event had a serious undertone, there was also a lighthearted element, particularly when it came to mystery prizes and sponsors’s gifts, of which one was a Swarovski encrusted power drill from Bosch, something that had men in the audience shaking their heads! Winners were spoilt with a pampering package from Revlon, that included a makeover, spa day, luxury pampering goods and a host of other seriously female things.