Female videographers hope to narrow the gender gap

Friday September 17 2021

Hellen Hartley (left) & Rebecca Tarimo PHOTO |Courtesy

By Sakina Chambulilo

Working in the media industry - specifically in the production field - is my passion. It really impresses me seeing women operating cameras, shooting, editing and doing all stuff in production.

Since the university has a television, and there she was, Hilda Swai, operating cameras at University’s TV, and I was eager to learn more about it.

She started teaching me the basics on how to operate a camera step by step my interest and passion for videographying grew.

Hilda was happy to help sa she insisted that many female students opt out production causes.

Hellen Hartley, 23, a videographer and a video editor at Mwananchi Digital, her journey to work in the media industry began after the failure of Form Six. She then went to college at Dar es Salaam School of Journalism (DSJ). Her dream was to become a doctor or to work in a financial institution. Her story is funny and amazing, she recalls the time she started working as a photographer for practical training at Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) in 2019, she was assigned to follow up the late Ruge Mutahaba funeral ceremony.

She went to the funeral with a photographer but later on the photographer left her alone with a camera to continue by herself.


Hellen covered the event but she was so tired and sweaty, people in the area mocked her, took pictures of her and shared them on WhatsApp groups, without her knowing.

That made her opt for video editing instead, ‘behind the scene kindawork!’

Rebecca Tarimo, 21, is a Journalism student at the University of Dar es Salaam. She works as a camera operator at the Mlimani TV, she prefers doing camera work than hosting, presenting or being a news anchor. She usually sees a few women operating cameras in a cloud of journalists and sometimes she doesn’t see them.

“Being a camera woman is nice, I really enjoy it. Although there are only a few of us in the industry”, she says.

Jescar Msoffe, a videographer at Victory Christian Center church was inspired by a friend she grew up with to become a videographer

“The only challenge I face is j on substandard devices. I really enjoy what I do,” says Jesca

Speaking with some experts in the production industry as to why a few women are involved in such an exciting industry. Many shared that there is a notion which needs to be changed that production activities are men oriented.

Director Maasai is a video director and a photographer. He said that the response of women in photography work is very low, and he thinks the main reason is fear and lack of determination to try out new things.

However, Mr Issa Mbura, a production training instructor at the University of Dar es Salaam’s, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, described the changes in women’s participation in videographer and video editing due to technological and material changes as well.

He argued that, since the devices used in the past seemed to be for men only, now the tools are easy to use, portable and mobile devices and now the editing is done on the computer, so it’s easy for women to practice.

“But it seems the challenge for women to participate behind the camera is very small compared to those in front of the camera as news anchors, I can say their participation is 30 percent out of 70 percent who are men, this is due to passion as well as personal motivation” he said.

The Executive director of the Ladies Joint Forum, Ms. Fransisca Damian Mboya, conducts photography workshop training for young women who are passionate about the industry.

She says she sees a huge opportunity for the ladies in the industry what needed is a push for girls and women to venture into the industry.

“There are organizations which seek female photographers and even some female leaders feel free to have their pictures taken by a woman, the statistics shows that more than 95 percent of male photographers in Tanzanian, so it basically seems a male dominated field. We initiate the photography workshop to create more opportunities for women as we go together with the sustainable goal number 5,” says Ms. Fransisca.

Adding that the response of women who apply for the workshop is very high, last year there were 150 applicants - and, this year, 400 turned up.

Ms Franzizca says such workshops are “best opportunity for girls and women who are actually moving with the global changes which are digital to learn photography and contribute to the digital economy”