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Female journalists in Ekiti State have been urged to break barriers when it comes to gender-based reportage, especially in protecting the rights of women and children.

A cross section of workshop participants

Speaking at a day workshop in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, tagged ‘Building Female Journalists’ Capacity for Leadership,’ the convener of the workshop, Mrs. Abimbola Adegboyega, said the workshop was organised to help female journalists attain leadership positions, just like their male counterparts.

According to her, “Training programmes like this are aimed at inspiring female journalists to the position of leadership and using their professional skills to report on sexual and Gender-Based Violence against women and the girl child.”

She added, “Our strength as female journalists lies in our voice, writing, and communication skills, which we need to use effectively to build our financial strength and identify our challenges with the aim of proffering solutions to them.”

The keynote speech given by the chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Alhaja Fatimat Bello, highlighted the challenges facing women journalists, including patriarchy, stigmatization, illiteracy, and late-night meeting schedules, which might deter female journalists from rising to leadership positions.

NAWOJ chairperson Alhaja Fatimat Bello 

Bello added, “Empowering female journalists is not only a matter of justice and equity; it is about enriching the standard of work in journalism. Women’s voices are underrepresented, hence why this workshop should build the capacity of female journalists to close this gap.”

She, however, said, “New strategies to tackle these challenges have been put in place, and one of them is a workshop like this, where education and trade, mentorship and networking, proactive inclusiveness, changing the narrative on gender stereotypes, advocating for equal opportunities in leadership positions, digital literacy are things to be done by female journalists to fill this gap.”

The General Manager of Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State, Mr. Olu Popoola, who also spoke at the workshop, said, “Factors to stop women from thriving would always be there, but they must, above all odds, scale through because they must handle leadership positions.”

He maintained that female journalists must have the personal will to thrive and weather through difficult situations that might want to deter them from attaining leadership positions.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs in Ekiti, Dr. Peju Babafemi, who also graced the workshop, said, “The Biodun Oyebanji-led administration has worked out plans for women’s development, and one of the major things on that list is the empowerment of women across the board.”

Commissioner for Women Affairs, Ekiti, Dr Peju Babafemi

She added that, “The workshop is a unique one for women journalists as they’re putting all on the line to change the world in their way,” noting that “their challenges and possible solutions have been discussed, and we hope to see the changes in the real world.”

Senator Biodun Olujimi, who was represented by the vice president of NUJ Ekiti, zone B, Mrs. Ronke Shamo, said not much has been done to encourage women’s participation across boards, and so workshops like this are important to emphasize their inclusion.

According to her, “Every woman has what it takes to breakthrough and thrive in journalism. At meetings now, it’s ‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press’… we are evolving as women.”

She, however, said the needed support for women to thrive has not really been gotten.

“There’s a percentage women should occupy, but we still draw back. We should have women rule parastatals in the media setting, and this can be achieved if female journalists would build capacity spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.”

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