Stakeholders task women, media on gender bills

Lagos, March 16, 2022 (NAN) Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, has urged women leaders to continue collaborating with Civil Society Organisations to persuade the National Assembly on gender bills.

Ogwezzy-Ndisika made the call at a media stakeholders meeting and public presentation of publications by Institute for Media and Society (IMS) in Lagos on Wednesday.
The project is sponsored under the Support to Media (Component 4A) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).

The don who spoke on, ”Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process: Some Reflections”, said that women should not relent in the quest for amendment and passage of gender bills into law.

According to her, the gender bills are strategic interventions that will address gender imbalance in national development and hopefully form the solid foundation for sustainability.

She said Nigeria women constituted about half the population and should be politically aware to convert this strength to power.

”Women should continue to engage ‘government’ using moral suasion, advocacy, bargaining and negotiation for power to pursue internal party democracy that will entrench affirmative action in party constitutions.

“Mobilise to promote the importance of women’s participation in politics as voters, candidates, politicians, civil society activists and in other roles as important.

“It allows women to exercise their fundamental civil and political rights and the integration of women into politics will strengthen democracy.

”Women should be politically conscious, register to get their Permanent Voters Cards and be ready to vote massively during the 2023 for their own to improve governance,” she said
Ogwezzy-Ndisika noted that Nigeria had yet to birth equality in political leadership.

“Notwithstanding, collectively, we can break the bias and birth equality in political leadership.
”This is because gains in women’s participation have been notable in countries that have taken proactive steps to support women’s political participation,” she said.

The Media Manager, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Mrs Florence Austin, urged the media to set agenda for the citizenry ahead of the 2023 elections.

Austin said that the media should have a focus on issues affecting Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) as the 2023 elections approach.
He said the barriers confronting PWDs in participating in elections which include electronic machine, lack of interpreter, proximity and media coverage, were worrisome.

“There is need to report disability issues in order to create more attention to their needs and expectations from government.
“The media need to be familiar with the PWDs laws in order to project them to the general public.

“Media should use the right words and images when reporting PWDs issues. Many times they use wrong terminology and unfriendly images that are discriminatory in their reports.

“They use inaccurate data, statistics and oftentimes misrepresent PWDs,” she said.
Prof. Ayo Ojebode of University of Ibadan urged the media to be vigilant, independent and an agenda-setter for government and politicians.

Ojebode spoke on “Giving Root to Democracy and the Democratic Culture: The Need for Media Introspection.’’

IMS presented a six-year publication under the Support to Media (Component 4A) EU-SDGN as the project will end in March.(NAN)

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