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Advancing gender equality in Ghanaian media: Challenges, initiatives, and calls for change

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Fair representation of gender by Ghanaian media remains a challenge. Cursory glances at national and regional media platforms indicate that experts quoted for varied discussions are largely male.

To address this, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), together with the French media development agency Canal France International (CFI), has organised a 5-day workshop for selected journalists across Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire under the Equal Voice project.

The project seeks to ensure a careful selection of sources and stories to achieve a balanced presence of women and men. This also involves ensuring a fair portrayal of women and men through the elimination of stereotypes and the promotion of multi-dimensional representation. 

Dr. Aurelia Ayisi, Gender Expert and Lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, challenged participants to consider the BBC’s 50:50 Project and how it is shifting representation in British media. She urged them to adopt and adapt the methodology to meet the specific needs of the media houses.

Dr. Ayisi explained that to properly address the situation, media practitioners must first compile data.

“The one thing that cuts across is the importance of data. You would realize that even the project started with some form of data. Data is one of the easiest ways to convince anyone,” she said.

To help deal with the resistance, media practitioners are expected to try to understand the reason for the resistance that exists.

Another way of dealing with the situation, according to Dr. Ayisi, is for journalists to create a resource pool.

“Journalists could benefit from an expert resource directory. Different media houses have different experts or sources that they rely on. These sources and experts can be shared.”

Another trainer at the 5-day training on Gender Sensitive Reporting, Dr. Charity Binka, reminded media practitioners of their roles as agents of change. Dr. Binka is the Executive Director of Women, Media, and Change (WOMEC).

Dr. Binka also reminded journalists of the need to consistently disaggregate data about socio-economic development across the country by gender. This, she said, helps create a picture of the situation and what specific things need to be done to address it.

The Equal Voices project, according to Abigail Larbi, Senior Project Manager at MFWA, aims to address gender inequalities by promoting women at all decision-making levels in Ivorian and Ghanaian societies through a gender-sensitive media approach. The project also focuses on enhancing the capacities of male and female media professionals to develop managerial and editorial policies that ensure a more equitable representation of women as experts and agents of change.

Eight media organizations, four in each country, are benefiting from the project. Media managers from these organizations will engage in peer-to-peer learning, coaching, and mentorship sessions, where they will receive training to become more gender-aware and be supported in identifying challenges and opportunities for gender equality within their media organizations.

Source: A1Radioonline.Com|101.1MHZ|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith & Humul Khrusum Tahiru|Accra

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