• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

WSCIJ Report Advocates For Gender Equality In Nigerian Newsrooms, Leadership Positions


In a groundbreaking move, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Journalism (WSCIJ) unveiled a report on February 15, 2024, exposing the stark gender disparities within Nigerian newsrooms and calling for deliberate efforts to address this inequality. The report, titled “Who leads the newsrooms and news? A report on women’s representation in newsrooms and news leadership in Nigeria,” sheds light on the global issue of gender inequality in the media industry.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Report Women! News and Newsroom Engagement project, the study scrutinized gender representation in various media organizations across Nigeria. The findings revealed that women hold a mere 25.7% of leadership positions, with men dominating at 74.3%. Print and online platforms showed the lowest representation at 4.6% and 5.5%, while radio and television exhibited slightly higher figures at 9.2% and 6.5%, respectively.

Geographically, the Southwest and North-Central regions had the most women in leadership positions but ranked lowest in percentage representation. In contrast, the Northwest and South-South led with 31.2% and 28.5% representation, showcasing a more balanced gender leadership dynamic.

Concerning news representation, the study disclosed that only 24% of anchors and authors were women, with men comprising 76%. Men also dominated as expert resource persons or guests, making up 87.9%, while women constituted a mere 12.1%. Additionally, only 7.1% of news content focused on women, while 92.9% covered other angles.

Dr. Theophilus Abbah, Director of Daily Trust Foundation, stressed the importance of proactive measures for gender inclusivity in the media. He endorsed the report’s recommendations, calling on media organizations to implement gender parity policies, improve representation of women in news reporting, and engage stakeholders.

Abbah also emphasized the need for qualitative research to understand the reasons behind the gender imbalance, urging the WSCIJ to widely circulate the report among media organizations. He insisted on continued advocacy until gender equity becomes an irresistible force for change.

Deputy Editor of The Eagle Online, Ms. Juliana Francis, who played a pivotal role in collecting data for the report, expressed pride in being part of the initiative. She highlighted the report’s significance in pushing for increased representation of women in news coverage and newsroom leadership.

Francis encouraged women to speak out against erroneous beliefs hindering their promotions and urged media organizations to be deliberate in promoting women to leadership positions. She emphasized that leadership roles should not be exclusive to a “boys’ club.”

Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, Executive Director of Media Career Development Network, emphasized leveraging technology to demystify newsroom work. He advocated for virtual meetings and remote work to eliminate barriers for women in managerial roles.

Otufodunrin identified a crisis in the media industry with a significant number of female mass communication students not intending to pursue journalism. He suggested a more liberal approach to recruitment and policies to provide equitable opportunities.

Mrs. Motunrayo Alaka, Executive Director of WSCIJ, highlighted the historical context of the report, emphasizing its use in engaging media leaders and fostering change. Alaka urged media owners to consciously recruit females into newsroom and leadership positions, emphasizing the competence of women in various sectors.

As the WSCIJ distributes the report widely, it stands as a powerful call to action, urging the media industry to reflect, address, and rectify the gender imbalance that persists within its ranks.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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