GSAI equip journalist to tackle Gender disparities through Inclusive reportage

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By Ere-ebi Agedah Imisi

In a bid to foster gender accountability reporting and elevate the narrative around Women inclusion in various sectors, the Gender Strategy Advancement International, GSAI recently concluded its third annual training program.

The event, which took place in Abuja, saw the participation of 20 journalists keen on delving into the intricacies of gender mainstreaming in media content.

According to the Executive Director of GSAI, Dr. Adora Onyechere Sydney-Jack, the initiative is another significant milestone in their ongoing efforts to promote gender equality through media discourse.

In her welcome remarks, Dr. Onyechere explained that it has become more imperative to mainstream conversations around women, emphasizing on the organization’s commitment to nurturing a cadre of journalists equipped to tackle gender-related issues.

She stated that over the past three years, GSAI has trained 60 reporters and editors, facilitating deliberate engagement to ensure the integration of women-centric narratives across various media platforms.

The GSAI boss emphasized on the need to address accountability gaps in women’s involvement in the economy, politics, and governance, citing previous initiatives targeting gender mainstreaming in government agencies.

The training program focused on reviewing policy guides to enhance gender storytelling within newsrooms, with particular attention to Nigeria’s political landscape and budgetary frameworks. Dr. Onyechere noted a 50% reduction in gender disparities within the country’s budget planning policies, a testament to the program’s impact.

Highlighting the media’s pivotal role in sustaining gender discourse, Dr. Onyechere stressed the need for collaborative efforts between journalists, government entities, and development partners, as she expressed optimism about the prospect of amplifying women’s voices and achieving gender mainstreaming goals in the media landscape.

Following the training session, Dr. Onyechere addressed concerns regarding the safety and welfare of journalists, especially in conflict zones. She called for a review of insurance policies and remuneration packages to safeguard journalists’ well-being and incentivize investigative reporting.

“Our image and foreign relations begin with the journalists, it is high time we prioritize their safety and ensure equitable compensation for their invaluable contributions.” She said.

She however extended her gratitude to the MacArthur Foundation and the Wole Soyinka Investigative Journalism Center for their support, as she urged stakeholders to prioritize gender-sensitive reporting and pledged GSAI’s continued commitment to advancing gender equality through media advocacy.

Also, the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Council, Mr Patrick Osadebamwen while highlighting key takeaways from the training noted that journalists play a crucial role in upholding freedom of expression and ensuring accountability in society.

According to Osadebamwen, journalists have a duty to hold governments accountable and promote inclusivity within the society adding that there is a need for journalists to ensure continuous efforts in raising awareness about gaps and shortcomings in governance and social structures.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to shine a light on government accountability and work towards building a more inclusive society, by reporting on these issues, we can encourage constructive dialogue and facilitate positive change.”

He expressed optimism that collective efforts within the journalism community would contribute to the advancement of society and the realization of a better future for all.

However, Osadebamwen stressed on the importance of preventing situations where the union must intervene through protests to address member-related issues as he urged journalists to prioritize their professional duties while also considering the well-being of their families and communities.

During the event, Dr. Amaechi Anakwe, one of the resource persons, presented a paper titled: “Comparing Nigeria’s Economic and Performance to other countries, evaluating the rot in the system and the role of the media in holding government accountable through sustainable investigative journalism”, emphasizing the vital roles journalists play in fostering accountability and transparency in governance.

Dr. Anakwe underlined key responsibilities for journalists and investigative reporters, which encompass probing reports and conducting thorough monitoring and evaluation noting that this serve as essential tools for uncovering systemic issues and holding government entities accountable for their actions.

Another facilitator, Chizoba Ogbeche, the Vice President, Nigeria Association for Women Journalists, NAWOJ while delivering her paper on “Media and Gender: Ethics of gender reporting and demystifying negative gender identity towards enhancing women’s political performance” emphasized the importance of ensuring women’s visibility in the media.

She stressed the importance for media practitioners to consistently seek opinions from both women and men in equal measure across all topics stating that this approach ensures balanced representation when choosing news sources and coverage areas.

Meanwhile, Felicia Dairo, the Project Manager, Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, conducted a session on non-stereotype reporting.

She stated that journalist should ensure to use language that are inclusive of all genders and groups, use terminology that are respectful and non-biased becuase non-stereotype reporting is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity for fostering an inclusive economy.

Ogar Fransisca Ada, Head Programme and Marketing, ITV Abuja, explaining the role of community journalism and its place in evaluating the rot in the system due to women exclusion in government encouraged participants to engage with women in remote communities through interviews, providing them with a platform to voice their perspectives.
This act, she emphasized, not only fosters community engagement but also serves as a form of corporate social responsibility, allowing journalists to give back to society.

The training concluded with a call to action for journalists to leverage their platforms for inclusive storytelling and hold accountable those responsible for gender disparities.