….as INEC Sensitizes Journalists on Gender Reportage
By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Deputy Director, Gender Division, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs. Blessing Obidegwu, has opined that election-related media reporting is naturally gender blind, insensitive to the challenges women face in the pursuit of their political ambition.
She made the assertion at a one-day Seminar on Media and Gender Sensitive Reporting of Elections with the support of Development Partner ‘UN Women’ held in Abuja on December 20, 2018.
The event which has in attendance journalists from across the Northern States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was to sensitize them on the need to take cognizance steps in mainstreaming gender in their reportage of the electoral activities.
Mrs. Blessing Obidegwu while delivering the objectives of the Seminar hampered that male domination of media reporting of electioneering activities tend to aggravate gender stereotypes which dampen the prospects of improving women’s political visibility and fair representation in elective positions as 2019 general election draws closer.
The Deputy Director ensured equitable and equal participation of stakeholders in elections and pledged to support inclusive participation of all players in all stages of the electoral process.
According to her, the justification of the support is built on the understanding that equality and equity are cardinal principles of electoral democracy, saying this is why the seminar is organized which is to “facilitate experience sharing on best practices for media in democratic governance and discuss ways of encouraging gender sensitive reporting of electoral issues.
“Develop good practices and tools that will become resources for the Nigeria media in covering elections; identify strategies to encourage improved professionalism and use of new technologies in reporting democratic governance on the Nigeria media and encourage the media to support women (and the marginalized groups) to participate in elections.
“The meeting speaks of Objectives three of the INEC Gender Policy which aims to mobilize the support and co-operation of other stakeholders in this case, the media in making the electoral system more gender sensitive to gain more momentum.
“We count on the media to ensure adequate mainstreaming of gender in their roles as transparency watchdogs, campaign platform, public engagement forum and public educators.
“The INEC understand the important role the media play in the electoral process especially as it relates to promoting gender equality and inclusiveness.
“Electorates rely on the media for news and information on electoral activities especially on stakeholders like political parties, candidates, government and the elections management body. Media is a vital agent of voter education, campaign platform and mechanism for voter engagement on the electoral process” She stressed.
Mrs Blessing Obidegwu expressed special appreciation and recognition of the Development Partner ‘UN Women’ for supporting the occasion.
“‘the UN Women has always worked for Gender Equality and women’s political participation across the globe” Mrs Blessing said.