From the Head of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ogun State, Mrs. Bosede Williams, has come an advice to women journalists in Nigeria. Williams urged her fellow colleagues to shun any temptation that would make them use their bodies to curry favour or gain undue advantages while practising their profession. She gave the advice on Wednesday while delivering a lecture at a workshop on Gender Sensitive Reporting organised by the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in Abeokuta. The NBC boss said that their dignity should be paramount to them and that they needed to be cautious on the need to be self-disciplined.
Williams also stressed that as professionals they are expected to correct a number of social vices in the society, adding that as such they should not be part of such vices.
The National President of NAWOJ, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Omowale in her remarks submitted that the workshop was intended to boost the professional status of women journalists in the country. Omowale also said that the workshop was designed to go across the country for all members to benefit, while appealing for more education on issues affecting gender. According to her, the era of relegating women journalists to the background is over. She urged the participants to see the workshop as a measure to impart same knowledge on their colleagues at their various chapels by becoming trainers to train their fellow journalists at on their return to work.
In her presentation at the event, the Lagos NAWOJ Chairperson, Dupe Olaoye-Oshinkolu, agreed that journalism in the country had advanced, but regretted that it was yet to attain the expected full professional status. The NAWOJ leader in her paper entitled “Media Gender Stereotyping: Women, Girls Focus,” said that notwithstanding journalism has become a calling and no more means of livelihood for all comers.
Olaoye-Oshinkolu said: “Today, the situation is much different, with the entry of highly educated professional women. Stereotyping, a clog in the wheel of professionalism, is fast disappearing. Beats like entertainment, fashion and style, shopping, etc hitherto reserved for women are being covered by both sexes.” She stated that the main focus of mass media was to be universal and suitable for all, and to attract the largest audience possible. But because of stereotypical way of handling the reality, according to her, some groups, including women and girls, are under-represented or ignored, thus making the society image to be incomplete. Olaoye-Oshinkolu said: “The media is supposed to act as mediators in the social, political, economic and cultural affairs of the society, yet in Nigeria women issues are under reported. The traditional belief that women are supposed to be seen and not heard still fans the embers of stereotypes.”