Stakeholders in Nigeria’s electoral process, including the US-based National Democratic Institute, have expressed concerns about the exclusion of women as running mates in the presidential primaries for the 2023 elections.
They therefore stressed the need for the media to pay attention to the marginalization of women in the last presidential primaries by political parties.
These recommendations were some of the highlights of a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day media training course held in Calabar in early August for 25 journalists on gender reporting, on the theme: ‘Preparing journalists to promote women’s political participation: training on gender-sensitive reporting in Nigeria.’
Organized by Women In Politics Forum for selected journalists, the event was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, the United Kingdom Agency for International Development and the NDI.
The communiqué signed by the chairman of WiPF, Ebere Ifendu, was obtained by: The PUNCH Sunday in Abuja.
Ifendu said the media should deliberately project women into politics by publishing stories that would focus on issues rather than irrelevant personal matters.
The communiqué read: “The participants also noted that as a prelude to the 2023 presidential election, none of the major political parties made women their running mates, fueling the ongoing marginalization of women. In this context, the media should pay attention to the marginalization of the last presidential primaries.
“Journalists should generate story ideas and write stories about women in politics and amplify the success stories of women in politics or in other spheres of life. The media must ensure that more women can be seen in guest programs on a regular basis.
“Media organizations should consciously create special programs or allocate slots for women-related programs.
Women’s groups should work with media executives through advocacy visits to create programs targeting women. Media organizations should avoid the use of stereotypes in their description of women who hold public office.
“Media organizations and reporters should commit to reporting women-related stories every two weeks or maybe once a month for visibility.
Reporters and media agencies should compile a database or compendium of women who are open to interviews.”
The head of the party in the NDI, Dr. Stephen Snook, gave a brief background on women’s poor political participation in the 2015 election, calling on the media to help change the narrative ahead of the next general election.
One of the staff and Chief Executive Officer of Women Radio, Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, in her paper entitled “Understanding quality media in the promotion of women Political Participation” emphasized the importance of a good reporter to be honest, accurate and balanced while reporting. about women in politics.
She encouraged journalists to do more research and ensure continuity before, during and after the 2023 elections for equal representation of women in Nigeria.
A faculty member and Senior Program Officer of the Center for Democracy and Development, Austin Aigbe, explained the difference between disinformation and disinformation in his lecture “Gendered Disinformation in Nigeria: The Role of Media.”
While proposing possible solutions for poor women’s participation in politics, he emphasized the importance of fact-checking and using available fact-checking tools to avoid spreading misleading messages.