This call was made recently at the completion of a three day training organised by West African Journalists Association in partnership with Women Journalist association of The Gambia and Gambia Press Union. The three-day training brought together 15 female and 5 male journalists geared toward building capacities to effectively and efficiently report on women and gender issues.
The president of the Women Journalists Association of The Gambia, Sarjo Camara-Singhateh said: “There are fewer women who reports on issues affecting women but with more concentration on beauty, fashion, food and household programs. There are only a few women journalists and even fewer men who can give a fresh, insightful perspective into issues that concern women including In-depth analysis and debates on an issue that has a negative impact on women’s development. This training workshop is part of a three- year programme aimed at improving on the quality of gender sensitive reporting in West Africa through adequate training that seeks to encourage and enhance in-depth analysis, and debates on issues in particular concerning women. The training further aims at offering skills and knowledge to those who are at the frontline in reporting on women but may not necessarily be equipped with the right tools to give a fresh, insightful perspective into subjects such as domestic violence, rape, inheritance, divorce, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, lack of access to education and health and reproductive rights of women and the economy.
This training is a follow up training which was conducted in Bamako, Mali in 2014 where women journalists were selected from various countries in West Africa to undergo an intensive training of trainers to become future trainers in their various countries with sponsorship from the Union of Norwegian Journalists.As women journalists, an important role is expected from us in our society. We have an equal constitutional right in the country, so we should not turn our backs to the noble profession we have already chosen as our career and we should be gender sensitive enough to be able to use our gender lenses to scrutinise policies and programmes that are already there for the development of the entire women.”
She added: “As women journalists, I believe that we are talented and creative, so we should not shy away from investigative stories and report on first-hand information even though it is not an easy task all the time. This training will offer women and men journalists interested in women’s affairs and gender issues a unique environment to learn about and apply gender related instruments and gender sensitive approaches in their day to day reporting.”
Media consultant and lead trainer, Wilma Jean Emanuel Randle explained: “This workshop is focused on improving the capacity of journalist to report on women and gender issues in particular when doing development reporting because the word gender means men and women and therefore our stories are gender stories. We have gathered 15 women and 5 men and we have covered a lot of information in a very short time. I have felt your sincerity, energy and seen your desire to learn and grow so that you can be better in the job you are entrusted to do.”
The secetary general of the Gambia Press Union, Gibairu Janneh, advised: “Journalists must be well-informed and clearly understand women’s issues, what are the issues affecting women and girls. Journalists should find out what is gender -based violence. How is it conducted? What are the conditions under which women and girls can be under that need attention?”.
He said journalists should have a clear understanding of the subject matter in order to to effectively inform the public about such issues]]>