The delay in the passage of gender bills by the National Assembly has been identified as one major factor militating against the rise of female journalists and women in general, in our society.
This concern was raised by participants at the one-day leadership seminar for female journalists, organized by Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP) and supported by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), in Port Harcourt.
In her keynote speech the Executive Director of Step Up for Women in Journalism Initiative, Ann Chukwuka Godwin explained that the delay in the passage of the gender bill or its rejection has brought so much setback in women rising in their career as well as making much progress and impact.
Describing the passage of the bill as prime, she said its passage would guide or regulate media managers or other managers in different sectors on how to treat women as professionals rather than on gender basis.
She stated that there were some challenges faced by women in journalism in spite of the rising phenomenon due to the non-passage of the gender bills by the National Assembly.
The Fellow of the FRLP, explained the significance of the gender bills to the rising of women in different sectors of the economy regretting that the absence of the bill had made people use their discretion to treat women anyhow they like.
She however encouraged women to be resilient, focused, and never be deterred despite the challenges and all forms of discrimination against women.
On her part, the Director of News, TVC, Stella Din-Jacob maintained that women can be good leaders in journalism and also do the job better than men and advised women to stay focused, keep themselves in the right trajectory and ignore every distraction that seemed to derail them from rising.
She however advised women to always show competence and proove to their managers that they can be trusted with responsibilities bearing in mind that times have changed.
The convener of the programme, Karina Igonikon said that one of the aims of the 2023 Wole Soyinka training was to build Champions that would make impacts in the Newsrooms.
She said that the aim of the seminar was also to create awareness and wake up the consciousness of women in journalism that they have the ability to take up leadership positions in Newsrooms amidst their challenges.
She observed that women were many in media newsrooms but when it comes to leadership positions a lot of bias about women leadership come to play.
She urged women to prepare and improve themselves to take up leadership opportunities in the Newsrooms and make impact in journalism.
Other factors challenging the rise for female journalists in leading newsrooms as identified by the participants include, mindset of media managers, toxic culture, lack of drive/interest, superiority complex, lack of self-awareness, capacity, competence, among others.
The seminar had ‘Factors challenging the rise for female journalists in leading newsrooms’ as its theme.
It would be recalled that the gender bill was introduced in the Senate in about 2021, but was reported to have been frustrated by some senators who objected that it was against the perspective of certain religion and some socio-cultural norms. This bill seeks eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.