By NDUMBE BELL GASTON JOSEPH IN DOUALA
Efforts to mitigate gender inequality in the media was the nucleus of deliberations at a capacity building workshop for media practitioners on the concept of gender and the instruments of promotion and protection of women’s rights. Organised by the Women Peace Initiative civil society group headed by Mme Nathalie Foko, the workshop ran from July 3rd to 4th in Douala.
Over 40 journalists, 10 of whom were men, came from the West and Central regions including those in the Littoral Region. Five other civil society groups like WILFE, WCIC and Veterans such as H. Lobe and J.P. SIPA, joined the Regional Delegate of MinProff to make speeches, presentations, shared experiences, played active roles in debates and were groomed to understand the national and international instruments related to the promotion and protection of the rights of the women.
To make their argument felt, Women Peace Initiative told participants that statistics compiled by the Global Monitoring Media Project confirms the need to improve women’s status: “Out of 39 media interviewed, only 6 women are at the head of the media, a representation of 15.38% women as compared to 84,62% men. At the level of the gender representation of the governing body, men account for 59.44%. This shows that women are underrepresented in the management bodies”.
Government, said the Regional Delegate of Minproff Mme Isabella Fortune Makota, supports the minimization of gender inequality for obvious reasons especially to attain the fifth objective of sustainable development in Cameroon through the official theme ‘promote gender equality and provide more independence to all women’.
Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo, President of WILFE explained module 3 which consisted of the U.N resolution 1325 which reverses the role of women from being victimized by crisis to that of taking a front role as ambassadors of peace. “The ratification of the resolution should be done at the Prime Minister’s office in order to implement the Action Plan of 2018-2020”, she said.
After the discussions on identifying the handicaps related to gender equality in the media, the strategies to adopt to reduce gender inequality in the media and to promote positive change and the specific responsibilities of media men and women in changing mindset, some proposals were arrived at.
According to Mme Lobe, women should be very determined to play their roles as journalists, wives and mothers and work to excel above average at the workplace. However, there are natural limits for everyone. Journalists will target families, cultural and religious impediments towards gender equality. More than 20 proposals were arrived at by three main groups during the two-day workshop.