Women in Media have been advised to portray their female counterparts in a positive light while reporting women related issues as a way of creating visibility for women in the media space.
The advice was given by a cross-section of speakers at the second edition of the African Women in Media Conference ongoing at the University of Ibadan Conference Center, Ibadan.
Speaking on Gender, Security and Election Coverage, Head of Department of Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Ojebode posited that women constitute 49.6% of the world’s population but only 24% of them are read, seen or viewed. He asserted that the less coverage of women in media leads to the underreporting of women and women related issues.
Prof. Ojebode stressed that female politicians receive more attention and coverage on their appearance, sex, private life and how to cope with the family instead of policies and manifestos like their male counterparts.
Further speaking on the impediments to the coverage of women in politics, Ojebode noted that Africa’s political climate and insecurity; physical, emotional and financial need to be addressed to boost women’s participation in politics as well as its coverage.
He also urged women groups to advocate for more quota for women at the National Assembly and also have a rethink of the gender justice to achieve visibility for women in all spheres.
The professor did not hesitate to call for mandatory gender training in all journalism schools as a means to equip intending journalist with the right skills to be gender balanced in their reporting.
On her part, HOD Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy maintained that advocacies about women in politics should involve men because they make decisions in their respective political parties.
“In political parties, women talk only if they are being recommended by men, so beyond airtime space in our broadcast stations and interview opportunities, our advocacies should get to political parties so the narrative can be changed and women can speak on issues pertaining to them,” says Ogwezzy.
Ogwezzy, who noted that in past elections, men have 95% voice leaving women with 5% suggested that women should be taught the art of public speaking to enhance their abilities and boost their confidence when speaking.
She continues, “Women should be encouraged to speak. When men make mistakes they laugh about it and move on but when women make mistake we criticize them. Women are powerful, they campaign for men, let’s encourage them to use their strength for themselves.”
The conference featured flash talks by women from various media organizations who inspired the participants on reporting for women in a digitalized world with seasoned speakers and professionals like Hannah Ojo of the Nation Newspaper; Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, convener of the African Women in Media Conference; Stephanie Busari of CNN and Aderonke Bello, Online Editor of The Sun Newspaper all available during the session.
The African Women in Media Award, a-2 day program continues today with expected discussions on Content and Perception of Women in Leadership; Women in Media: Participation, Advocacy and Youth.