The Director of Research and Development at Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Prof Godwin Okon, has urged the Federal Government to implement policies that promote gender equality, especially the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG- 5), which stipulates 40 per cent participation of women in decision making.
Okon, who is also a lecturer in the department of mass communication, lamented that women participation in politics and decision making policies have remained very low.
The university teacher was the keynote speaker at a two-day training organized by the Step-Up for Women in Journalism Initiative (SWIJ) in Port Harcourt.
In his paper titled Facilitating the implementation of gender policies within the newsroom and organisations, he noted that stereotype is one of the greatest propellers of gender inequality, stressing that despite Nigeria being a signatory to gender equality women participation in political activities have remained low.
He lamented that despite making giant marks in the media and corporate world, the mass media has failed to celebrate women.
In proffering solutions, Okon enjoined women, especially those in the media to prevail on the government to implement gender equality policies.
He also called on the coalition of female professionals to make themselves seen and visible.
Speakers at the two-day event also emphasized the need for female journalists to key into the changing trend in journalism by promoting their work on social media.
Former commissioner for information in Rivers State, Ibim Semenitari, while speaking on the topic Becoming an expert source for news: How to improve visibility and impact on gender-based issues,” highlighted gender imbalance as one of the key impediments to women as news sources.
She emphasised that female journalists must be intentional in using women as news sources.
Semenitari, a former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), added that female journalists must be fresh and innovative, honest and accessible to make a mark in their career and become news sources.
In her address, Executive Director of SWIJ, Ann Godwin, said the gap between the male and female gender has remained glaring.
The programme was supported by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), under its Report Women Programme being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.