October 1, 2023

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Female Journalists Demand Passage Of Gender Bills

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Female Journalists in Rivers State have frowned at the delay in the passage of the gender bills, which they identified as one major factor militating the rise of female journalists and women in general, in the society.

This concern was raised at the one-day leadership seminar for female journalists, organized by Female Reporters Leadership Programme FRLP, with the recently installed Rotary Club of Port Harcourt President, Karina Igonikon as the convener.


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The seminar with the theme: ‘Factors challenging the rise for female journalists in leading newsrooms’ was duly attended by female professionals such as a Nigerian award-winning film actress and Acting Chairman of the Labour Party LP in the state, Hilda Dokubo, a former Managing Director of NDDC, Ibim Semenitari, among others.

The Director of News, TVC, Stella Din-Jacob was the special guest of honour, the Executive Director of Step Up for Women in Journalism Initiative, who is also the Rivers State Correspondent of the Guardian Newspaper, Ann Godwin was the keynote speaker, Seanam Bamigboye of the NTA Port Harcourt Network Centre, Chioma Ezenwafor of Cool/Wazobia/Nigeria info and Clarice Azuatalam of Verbatim Magazine were the panelists.


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Recall 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.

Displeased by the delay in the passage of the gender bills, women group had protested to the National Assembly to register their discontent, seeking for the passage of the bill aimed at achieving equality and women inclusiveness.


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Speaking at the leadership seminar for female journalists, on Wednesday, at the Press Centre of the NUJ, Port Harcourt, Ann Godwin, described the passage of the bill as prime, important and significant.

The keynote speaker explained that, “the delay in the passage of the gender bill or the rejection of the gender bill has brought so much setback in women rising in their career and making much progress and impact.


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“Because that bill if when passed, it will be able to guide or regulate media managers or other managers in different sectors, it will guide them how to treat women, basically, they will begin to treat women as professionals and not based on their gender, but because of the lack of that bill, people use their discretion to treat women anyhow they like, so that is why the passage of that bill is very, very prime, it’s very, very important, it’s very, very significant towards contributing to the rising of women in different sectors of the economy.”

She encouraged women to be, “resilient, they should remain focus, they should keep pushing, they should not be deterred despite the challenges, there are glaring challenges and discrimination against women but that should not damper their courage or their pushing ability, they should keep on pushing till we get there, there is hope.”


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The women also identified other factors challenging the rise for female journalists in leading newsrooms to include, ‘mindset of media managers, toxic culture, lack of drive/interest, superiority complex, lack of self-awareness/capacity/competence, among others.

Also speaking, the guest, Din-Jacob while reacting to women leadership said, “ofcourse women can be good leaders in journalism, if a lot of women have spent a life time and forever rising through the rhymes, then I see no reason why they can’t do the job as good if not better as another man.


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“I think it’s really not an issue for us to continue to expend time and energy debating whether women can do it, first things first, if you do not give somebody the opportunity, you won’t know the person can do it. Certainly, If women don’t put themselves forward to show that indeed they can do it very well, and they can do it in such a way that will show what it is, the kind of stuff they’re made of.

“What is important is women free your minds, don’t imprison your minds, stop remaining in bondage, you need to show in word and deed that you are capable of been trusted with responsibilities, that you understand that media today has gone beyond out expectation of 30 and 40 years ago. We need to understand that with the dynamic nature of the business we are in, we must start to reinvent ourselves and sure the world at large that you are moving with the times and not remaining stagnant and thinking that everything you desire will be given to you on a platter of gold.”


Overwhelmed by the turnout and active participation of women journalists in the discussion, the convener, Igonikon expressed gratitude, and further urged the participants to build capacity, competence, eschew excuses, add value to themselves, insisting that growth is intentional not accidental.

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