The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) on Friday held an in-house training for staff of PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja.
The training tagged, ‘House to House Media Chat on Gender Policy and Practice’, was organised to show the importance of having stronger gender policies and practice in newsrooms.
During the session, the Editorial Management Consultant, Nigerian Info, Rotimi Sankore, explained the need to incorporate more of the female gender in the decision-making process of the media industry.
He, while speaking on gender inequality that is pervasive across the nation, also spoke on the main reason for the security crises rocking the nation which he attributed to forced marriages imposed on young girls in parts of the country.
“The main catalyst is the violation of girls and women because soldiers that have been gifted to Boko Haram were created out of gender inequality. The violation of women’s rights and obligations include serious sexual violations.
“It is important that we underline this because the media is the mirror of the society, the media amplifies, it educates. If the media misses it, everyone misses it,” he said.
Mr Sankore said forced marriage is the ‘main peak’ of all gender issues and “thus there is the need for it to be tackled”.
“Forced child marriage is the ultimate canceller, it cancels all human rights, your right to assembly, to association, to freedom of expression, to political participation, everything goes. Gender is connected to everything, that is why it is really important to all those issues,” he said.
“So please after this, I am sure there are many things to consider in terms of gender training, many to consider from the Human Resources point of view. How do we make it easier for our women colleagues (media) to show that they are competent as our male colleagues?
“We are in PREMIUM TIMES and I know that it is going to happen (change in gender policy). Unlike in some places, it is like pushing a car without fuel.”
The Senior Programme Officer of WSCIJ, Adeolu Adekola, said WSCIJ as a Non-Governmental Organisation started in 2005 but was registered in 2009 as WSCIJ.
Mr Adekola said WSCIJ has trained over 600 journalists.
He added that ‘The Report Women’ is a project of the WSCIJ, which was launched in 2014 in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Embassy, with the goal of increasing women reportage.
In her vote of thanks, the coordinator of WSCIJ, Motunrayo Alaka, expressed appreciation to the journalists for attending the training. She also said she expected to see an appreciable change in gender policies from the organisation going forward.
Bisi Abidoye,, Assistant Managing Editor, PREMIUM TIMES, in his remark thanked the organisers for the training and promised that the training would be integrated into the newsroom operations and aspects of it communicated to the management.
The WSCIJ media visit which began on April 4, is scheduled to hold in eight media houses.