By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Gender equality and older citizens’ empowerment should be one of the overarching priorities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Executive Director, Center for Gender Economics Initiative, CGE Africa, Ms Uchenna Idoko gave this charge as part of the roundup activities to commemorate international women’s day, 2023.
Idoko charged the government with the theme of innovation for gender and age-responsive media reporting in the digital era.
According to her, older women are vulnerable to abuse and violence because of discriminatory societal attitudes and the non-realization of human rights.
“This is often exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to legal protection. In some parts of Nigeria, harmful traditional practices result in the abuse and violence of older women.
“Due to their tiny percentage within Nigeria’s resources, they have limited access to education and employment and remain marginalized and excluded.
Their family duties affect their careers in the public domain, and their unequal relations with men make them vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV).
“Equality of people, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, economic status, among others has become a critical agenda of this age.
“Research and international reports have confirmed that women are disadvantaged in many social aspects. Though the degrees may vary, they are oppressed all over the country”, she said.
In the same vein, Idoko, charged media organizations should give increasing attention to gender equality and age-related issues in Nigeria.
“The press has the influential power to challenge and change people’s perceptions and behavior and impact policy and practice dialogues.
“There is need to address the continuous negative and degrading images of women projected through media content, including advertisements, especially in the digital space.
“We call for action to intensify the media’s role in balancing unequal gender relations and promoting gender equality and older women’s empowerment.
“Media actors should clearly understand that gender is the first step in gender-sensitive reporting and media representation of gender in general. It is essential to understand that, unlike sex, gender is a social construction.
“By recognizing gender equality, our stories and all media texts will become more gender-sensitive and impartial. This will contribute to breaking stereotypes and demystifying wrong cultural and social assumptions”, she added.
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