Bridging the leadership gap among female journalists in Nigeria

A new breed of female journalists were equipped with the skills, finesse, support and tools to take bold steps that will position them for the highest leadership positions in their media houses at the four-day training to kickstart the 2019 Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP) Fellowship held in Lagos from Monday, 29 July to Thursday, 1 August 2019.

Under the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP), an initiative of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism with support from Free Press Unlimited (FPU), twenty female journalists were mobilised to increase the number of females oriented for leadership in the media.

The participants, from the print, electronic and new media successfully scaled through an application and selection process among two hundred and seven applications received from nine countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, India, South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, and Togo.

Sharing about WSCIJ’s experience with gender issues and the status of female reporters in Nigeria’s newsroom, Motunrayo Alaka, the Centre Coordinator said the Report Women! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme is WSCIJ’s response to addressing the leadership gap between males and females in Nigerian Newsrooms, which is hugely in favour of the men, up to ratio 10 to 2 in some cases. The findings were deduced from a 2017 survey the organisation conducted from data collected from 180 respondents from 85 media organisations in 28 states in Nigeria and another survey conducted between September 2018 and January 2019 on gender policy and practice in Nigerian newsrooms conducted across 15 media houses.

The 2019 participants were taken through training modules such as fundamentals of gender studies, gender mainstreaming, security, gender-related policies and laws, managing conflicts, dealing with stereotypes, writing well, value-driven leadership, competence and confidence building, personal productivity, ethics of journalism, public speaking, technology and social media.

Seasoned resource persons facilitated the training. They included Bimbo Oloyede, a veteran Nigerian journalist, public speaking and communications coach; Mannir Dan-Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Daily Trust Newspaper; Nneka Okekearu, Deputy Director at the Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University; Rotimi Sankore, Editorial Board Chair, Nigeria Info Radio Group; Lekan Otufodurin, Executive Director, Media Career Development Network; Ropo Sekoni, Board Chair, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism; Comfort Idika-Ogunye, Founder, Female Leadership Forum; Isime Esene, Managing Editor, YNaija and Motunrayo  Alaka, Coordinator WSCIJ.

At the end of the training, participants expressed their appreciation to the resource persons, the WSCIJ and Free Press Unlimited. Participants also shared positive feedback and impact of the training.

‘’I learnt that through continuous reportage, women journalist can begin to change the stereotypes placed on them” says Anette Jeje, News Correspondent with DAAR Communications, Ilorin. According to Azeezat Adedigba, journalist at Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, ’’I have gained knowledge about being intentional in mainstreaming gender in news report.” Chika Mefor, a journalist with Leadership Newspaper Abuja also states “I have learnt the need to create my brand and make my presence more visible on social media.‘’

Apart from the training, the six months long FRLP Fellowship will entail a three-month mentorship, two-day share-fair as well as story and leadership projects that will be executed by the participants.

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