The president of Women in Politics Forum ( WIPF), Ms Ebere Ifendu has said that women politicians have been underreported by the media and urged the media to do more to project women’s character, capacity, competence and integrity.
Ms Ifendu made the call yesterday in Abuja at a media workshop on electoral coverage with the theme: “Media and Elections Campaign: Gender Responsive Reporting.”
She said that what the forum needs from media houses is to make the few female candidates who were lucky to have party tickets more visible since most women don’t have money.
She said, “Since 2019 general elections are just around the corner, we have women candidates and what we need from the media is the visibility since most women don’t have money. Media can do a lot to project them. Media are the greatest people in this world and can influence voters. If you present our candidates as people that can win and deliver, the populace will listen, they will begin to work towards the women but if we are not talking about them and projecting the men only, that is when you hear that the election is just between Buhari and Atiku.
“Let’s work together, lets project our women, and see what we can do to have more women in politics or in governance. We lost in the last primaries; instead of having more women contestants, the number dropped because of party politics and internal party democracy that is lacking.
“If we are presenting 20 women, my desire is that they all should win. Gender and equal opportunity bill is before them and nobody is talking about it. We don’t have the number in the National Assembly. Some people will always stand against having the gender and equality bill passed. So we need the numbers. We have lost it, appointive positions are there, appoint them”.
In his address, the Country Representative of International Republican Institution (IRI) Mr Sentell Barnes said it is not easy to fix institutional discrimination over night and urged women to do more if they want to be carried along by their male counterparts.
He said that though there has been significant improvement, looking at women’s participation in political life from 1999, a lot still need to be done.
“Women have to go a step beyond, so if women feel they are being discriminated against they have to go a step above their male counterparts. They have to know the issues, they have to know more about the issues than their male counterparts. Because society is looking down upon you so you have to be more assertive and more aggressive.
“You should reach out to media, you should have discussions with many of your political leaders on issues, you have to go above and beyond what your male counterparts are doing. Women have to work even harder to deal with these issues. We have to have a coordinated effort among people in the political sphere from local parties to global leaders, to media to everyone. Everyone has to be involved in this process. It’s a concerted effort that is more than just overnight thing,” Barnes said.