Media experts have charged female journalists to surmount numerous challenges they might be experiencing in the newsrooms and focus on emerging as leaders in their newsrooms.
The charge was made during a one-day training session for entry-level female journalists across print, broadcast, and online media platforms in Lagos, organized by Blessing Oladunjoye, the Publisher of BONews Service and a fellow of the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) Women Reporters Fellowship Programme.
The training which is a leadership project and an initiative of Ms Oladunjoye was tagged Leading (Media) Ladies and sought to address the challenges of how female journalists leave the newsrooms because of workplace challenges that deter them from growing their careers.
While addressing the participants, Ms. Oladunjoye explained that the training was organized with the intention of providing relevant support to female journalists who are at the entry-level of their careers and might exit the newsrooms if they do not receive the necessary support.
Oladunjoye said, “oftentimes, the number of female students in journalism institutes are larger compared to the number of females in the newsrooms, and this has a direct impact on the number of female journalists that emerge as leaders in the newsrooms.”
She encouraged the participants to rise above all odds and leverage on the support system that the Leading (Media) Ladies initiative would offer to enable them to grow in their careers.
Mrs. Juliana Francis, award-winning investigative journalist and Deputy Editor at the Eagle Online said some of the challenges that female journalists experience include sexual harassment in the newsrooms and in the beat, and the need to prove their worth, as well as balancing work and home.
Mrs. Francis buttressed that “75% of media organizations in Nigeria do not have sexual harassment policy that can protect women in the newsrooms.”
She thereafter charged the participants not to restrict themselves and to grow beyond the stereotypes in the newsrooms.
Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, media expert and Executive Director of the Media Career Development Network (MCDN) charged the participants to map out their career plans so they can follow them diligently and grow.
Mr. Otufodunrin said, “as female journalists, you should have a career plan that will guide you and keep you going even when there are challenges.”
He also added that female journalists “should exhibit leadership potential, because you don’t have to be in a position to show that you’re a leader.”
Dr. Adeola Ekine, the Chairperson of the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) who spoke on the Role of Mentorship in Supporting Female Journalists, admonished the participants to identify mentors in the media industry that would guide them through their career path.
Dr. Ekine said, “mentorship plays a vital role in the personal and professional development of female journalists.”
The participants appreciated the speakers and the convener for the impactful and inspiring training, stressing that it would help them to remain relevant in the newsroom.
Oluwaseyi Lawal, a journalist with Newsclick Nigeria said “the training has been quite impactful and with all that I have heard, I’m certain I am never disappearing from the newsroom. Thank you all for bringing together this community of female journalists who will break barriers and emerge as leaders in the media space.”