Journalists and media managers at Voice of Nigeria (VON) and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Lagos Operations, have been charged to ensure gender balance in their newsrooms. The charge was made at the house-to-house visit made by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) to the media houses on Thursday, 4 April 2019.
The visits to the media houses, were planned as a chat on gender policy and practices with members of staff, including top management and head of desks of media houses under the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme.
Adeolu Adekola, WSCIJ Senior Programme Officer, explained that the visit was organised as a response to an online survey the WSCIJ conducted in select media organisations in the country. He revealed that there was a major gap in the ratio of female to male representation in leadership positions in many of the newsrooms.
Motunrayo Alaka, WSCIJ Coordinator, presented the results of the analysis of the online survey fielded by 72 respondents across 15 media organisation in the country. According to her, the result shows the absence of a clear-cut gender policy in most of the select media organisations. She however, noted that some of the media houses made up for the lack of codified policy in practice.
Speaking on ‘What, how and why of gender mainstreaming in policy and in practice for the media’ at the events, Rotimi Sankore, an editorial management consultant, noted that the issues of discrimination and gender disparity must be done away with if Nigeria must develop as a nation. According to him, women determine the rate of development in any society. Talking of the media, he said, CNN stands out because the women reporters are as outspoken as their male counterparts.
At Voice of Nigeria (VON), religion and culture were brought to fore as major issues that need to tackled if gender parity must be attained in newsrooms. Also, it was mentioned that there is a need to sensitise and re-orientate female would be journalists from school so they are ready to engage in a healthy competition with their male counterpart in the newsroom and not think of themselves less as a result of their gender.
On his part, Prince Adeyinka Amosu, Director, Lagos Operations, FRCN, noted that gender issues are handled well in their newsroom. He however revealed that the only drawback to female journalists reaching their full potential, is with their husbands not willing to accommodate the challenges that come with the job.
Longinus Egbujor, Director of Programmes, VON, appreciated the learning platform afforded the organisation. He further stated that the learning was not enough; rather, behavioural changes is required from all the people who are part of the event.
He went on to state the ratio of female to male representation in their organisation to reflect a near gender balance one. He said that VON has equal number of female and male in the Programmes Department, and that out of seven Deputy Directors, there are four females and three males.