Don urges media to champion cause of women

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By Correspondent in Awka

As members of the fourth estate of the realm mourn the death of one their own, Mr Emma Ugoji, who died in a ghastly motorcycle in Abuja on Monday, they have been urged to champion the cause of women in the society.

Prof. Chinyere Okunna of the Department of Mass Communication Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, made the call in Awka during one a day workshop organsied for 60 journalists in Anambra by Association of Common Wealth Universities (ACU) in partnership with Unizik.

She said that media practitioners in the country could do this by enhancing the agenda setting responsibility of the press on a more serious note.

According to the don, the theme of the workshop is apt an exercise she said needed journalists to key into the workshop title “ Enhancing Women’s participation in politics and invisibility in Leadership” to better the lot of women and the society in general.

Okunna, who described media as oxygen of the society and status conferral as well as framing the power of media, also urged the media practitioners to own up to responsibility of projecting the women capabilities.

She identified some causes of women invisibility and low political participation as a result of cultural belief,Religious commands , self esteem, financial capability, perception of Nigerian politics amongst others.

“ I have researched and discovered that the 35 per cent affirmative policy for women to participate in politics, elective and political appointment is yet to be achieved,” she said.

Okunna urged the journalists to give prominence to women participation in politics in all their reportage and through advocacy for enforcement of existing legislation to enhance women’s political actions.

Okunna was the former Chief of Staff to ex- Governor Peter Obi of Anambra Commissioner for Information, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning served the state in many capacities as Coordinator, Donor Agencies, currently,she is Director of UNZIK FM and the first woman professor of mass communication in Nigeria.

Dr. Chinedu Ekwualor, the Guest Speaker at the occasion, recommended a legislation to be provided for in the nation’s constitution that would concede certain percentage of political positions to women.

Ekwualor, urged the media to project women ability to enable them utilise available opportunities and be active in all areas of sectors.

Ekwalor said that media should as well as encourage men to change their perception of women in politics and the attendant prejudice against such women.

Mr Gabriel Okpalaeze, who made contribution at the event, said that media should through its reportage, encourage women to be courageous to participate in politics and other leadership positions.

Okpalaeze also called on the said media to focus attention on how to erase negative cultural practices that portray women as inferior to their male counterparts, a factor he noted eroded women’ value in many areas of endeavour.

Mr Tony Okafor, who lent his voice to the occasion, said that media should be fearless in its reportage to project women and their quality to aid them offer services that would better the society.

He described women as better mangers and less criminal minded, adding that they needed to be publicised and encouraged to do exploit.

Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor of UNIZIK , Prof. Charles Esimonye, commended Okunna for attracting the partnership in the university and called on other dons to emulate her giant steps in projecting the university.

Esimonye said that the media had the power and strength to change existing conditions that hindered effective women participation in politics and leadership positions in the country.

He called on the media to utilise such power by projecting developmental ideas and a new concept to develop a new narrative that would launch the women in either elective or appointment in leadership positions.

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