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UNICEF/ NCWD workshop: Preparing female journalists for gender reporting

CHIDIMMA UCHEGBU, Abuja

Recently the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) led by Lady Onyeka Onwenu, with support from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) took female journalist on a three-day capacity building programme on gender mainstreaming for the media in Kaduna.
The workshop became necessary for gender reporters to report accurately on gender issues and also be abreast of new development in gender and children issues.
The event which was held at the Bafra International Hotel Kaduna attracted female journalist from the various media houses alongside the resource persons and lecturers from International organizations like United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) who funded the training and National Centre for Women Development (NCWD).
The training programme which was tagged: Capacity Building Programme on Gender Mainstreaming for the media addressed issues like Understanding Basic Concept of Gender, Understanding International and National Gender Instruments, Overcoming Challenges in Gender Sensitive Reporting and Building A Mass Movement: Promoting Gender Equality.
Speaking in an opening address the Director General of National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Lady Onyeka Onwenu charged journalist on gender sensitive reporting.
According to her, the role of journalists is central to the development of the society, stressing importance of reporting stories on female role models in the society.
Onwenu who also announced a 16 day of activism theme “from peace in the home to peace in the world: ‘let’s challenge militarism and end gender based violence” lamented derogatory lyrics and adjectives used in describing females in both the electronic and print media.
According to Onwenu the workshop is aimed at establishing a link with the media for the positive promotion of project activities, to forestall negative reporting capable of jeopardizing the Nigerian Gender Agenda, amongst others.
“The media no doubt is a powerful tool that must be taken along in exposing the unwholesome activities of baby factory operators, kidnappers, child traffickers, rapist, as well as other vice merchants,” she stated.
She condemned deliberate and concerted criticisms against women, urging women to be courageous in the pursuit of self actualisation.

Meanwhile, with the 2015 general election drawing close, near, Onwenu called on Nigerian women to cooperate in forming a political association that can support female aspirants win elections.
Onwenu said the associations will also provide financial supports to fund political processes and mobilization.
According to the her, women holding political positions are often influenced by men in the political parties they identify with which is against women right.
She noted that aim of such political association would be to liberate women from being “wiped out”, especially by silencing or excluding them from public life, hence repressed in the private sphere.
In increasing the tempo on the actualization of the 35% Affirmative Action of Women in Governance and Decision Making, she commended efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan and First Lady Patience Jonathan at ensuring that women take their place in the scheme of affairs.
Gender and Development Specialist for United Nation International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) Mrs Olasunbo Odebode, in her remarks said UNICEF’s mandate is to promote and protect the rights of women and children as enshrined in the Convention of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other legal frameworks.
Odebode said the event is centred on the need to call attention to gender based violence (GBV), as well as build capacity for journalists on the concept of gender and effects of reportage of victims.
She condemned the incessant negative representation of women in the media stressing that this calls for concern.
She said supporting the NCWD to improve capacity building for media practitioners is to ensure that they report women activities from informed perspectives.
“Women holding political positions lies in their hands. Political Parties should know that they are not given them their rights. We should have women political parties but this may be against the law because it is not in the legislation.
“We are looking at women political associations where women can be rallied round in monetary aspects to fund political process because they may not be able to do the funding like men do.
“The monetary aspect is not to bribe people but you cannot expect to take market women away from the businesses for nothing, there is need for mobilization. We want more women to be brought in, it must be inclusive, the sky is large enough for all of us”, she stated.
The Director, training and Development National Center for Women Development, Princess Jummai Idonije, in her paper titled “International Dimension of Gender Mainstreaming A Historical Analysis of Gender -Information on key Global, Regional and National Gender Instruments” said women are still not consulted to any meaningful degree, but their key position in the development process became more widely acknowledged especially in connection with population and food.
Mrs Ngozichi Okorie One of the resource persons in her paper titled “Basic Concept of Gender and Media” said Gender is socially constructed role, behaviours , activities, and attributes that given society considers appropriate for women/girls and men/boys. They vary among different society and cultures, classes, ages and during different periods in history. They are not fixed and can be changed.
Mrs Olasunbo Odebode of UNICEF in her paper titled: Introduction To Gender Concept said is a fundamental requirement for understanding and mainstreaming gender perspectives into various aspects and sectors of development.
Also Princess Idonije gave ten quick steps to Gender Mainstreaming into Development Plans, Programmes and Policies. She listed them as Mainstreaming Approach to Stakeholders: Who are the Decision Makers?; Mainstreaming A Gender Agenda: What is the Issues?; Moving Towards Gender Equality: What is the Goal?; Mapping the Situation: What Information Do We Have; Refining The Issue: Research and Analysis; Formulating Policy Or Project Internationals From A Gender Perspective; Arguing Your Case: Gender Matters; Monitoring: Keeping A Gender-Sensitive Eye On Things; Evaluation: How Did We Do? and En-Gendering Communication.
Participants expressed satisfaction with the workshop even  as the called for more of such training for journalists, especially editors, to enable them appreciate issues and developments on gender reporting.

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