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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gender issues, not only women affairs - Panellists

Panellists at a session on ‘Quality and Professionalism in the Newsroom: The Gender Dimension’ at the on-going Highway Africa 2007 in Grahamstown, South Africa, have called on African women to strive towards having a better understanding of what gender is all about.

This, they said would enable them to see gender really as not only women affairs so as to be sensitive to gender issues alongside their men counterparts.

For South Africa GEMSA, Mrs Kubi Rama, gender does not mean a issue affecting a particular sex, but rather for both sexes, adding that if it is one sided, it would contribute to the denoting of womenfolk precisely and the society in general.

Kenyan trainer, Mrs Rose Okolo pointed out that it would take training to truly enthrone balanced reporting on gender issues, stressing that it is only when constant training is given and assimilated that people of the continent could now expect better and balanced gender stories at all levels of media organisations.

Equally, Zambian Brenda Zulu and freelance writer, said that womenfolk are currently blind folded on gender issues, thus they could not see direction on which the world is going, especially in covering of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

She further said that for her as a lady to delve into the field of ICT dominated by men journalists, she has to work ‘double hard’ to prove a point.

According to her, gender stories are seen by media organisations as not the kind of stories that would sale their papers, adding that all depends on the understanding of the leadership of any given organisation, just as she reiterated the need for training for all levels of media practitioners on the continent.

A contributor at the forum, Mr. Ansbert Ngurumo noted that charity should begin at home as the panellists were all women, and suggested that he expected due process of gender equality to at least begun with the balanced nomination of panellists in an occasion like this.I

n addition, other participants who spoke at the session enjoined women to take the bull by the horn and stop playing the second fiddle in order to exhibit their best, especially by sticking to professionalism against all odds.

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