Wole Soyinka Centre trains 20 female journalists on leadership

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Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), on Wednesday, trained 20 female reporters on leadership skills and ways to build career in journalism.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme (FRLP) was an initiative of the WSCIJ, supported by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) which started in June 2017.

Mrs Motunrayo Alaka, the Centre Coordinator of WSCIJ, said that the FRLP was organised to empower female journalists with skills that would embolden them to emerge as leaders in their various media organisations.

She said that the programme was a response to the observed gap that existed in the ratio of female to male leadership in Nigeria’s newsrooms.

“Our survey on the leadership status of female reporters in Nigeria’s newsroom conducted in 2017 reveals a ratio of 10:2 representations in board and management levels in favour of men.

“There have been little deliberate efforts to ensure female reporters get to the highest echelons of leadership in the newsrooms.

“The major thrust of the FRLP, which includes this fellowship, is our decision to be intentional about changing this anomaly,” she said.

Alaka said that the four-day training programme would address how female journalists can increase their participatory and performance levels to better position themselves for leadership opportunities.

Ms. Bethel Tsegaye, FPU Programme Coordinator, said that in the pilot phase, 58 application were received in 2017 and 15 female reporters was selected, adding that in 2018, 199 applications were received.

She said that out of the 199 application received from nine countries of the world only 20 female reporters were selected including one from Ghana to join as new fellows of the initiative.

“FRLP commenced in June 2017 as a build-up to the Report on Women programme of the WSCIJ, which was designed to focus on major issues of access and abuse as they affect girls and women in Nigeria.

“From 58 applications received in 2017, to 199 received from nine countries of the world including Nigeria, Ghana, Inia, Iran, Malawi, Uganda, Palau, Tanzania and Togo in 2018.

“The programme will also entail a survey on policy and practice of gender mainstreaming in the newsroom. Free Press Unlimited (FPU) is the WSCIJ passionate partner on the programme,” she said.

Speaking, on a topic, “Fundamentals of Gender Studies,” Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said that women must be determined in creating the future they want to see.

She said that a lot of female journalists, who started the profession do not get to the managerial position in the newsroom because of various reasons that made them quit along the line.

Akiyode-Afolabi, however, said that the fellowship was aimed at helping female journalists in the newsroom to overcome those challenges and perform optimally to get to that peak in their profession.

She urged the participants to be a voice for the female folks in their various organisations and also write reports that would promote girls and women in Nigeria.