Journalists from various media houses around the country have been called upon to earnestly highlight gender based issues.
The call was made during a conference on Gender and Governance in East Africa, organised by the Association of Rwanda Female Journalists (ARFEM) in collaboration with Eastern African sub Regional Support initiative for the advancement of Women (EASSI).
Addressing journalists, the chairperson of ARFEM, Faith Mbabazi, urged them to mainstream gender in their media content so as to enlighten society about women’s equal role.
“The media has the power and tool to make a difference in gender related issues. Gender challenges such as GBV, reproductive health, are never put on the front page because they are despised, but we have to change that,” Mbabazi said.
She urged practitioners to be committed and influence their bosses and editors by prevailing upon them to understand how pertinent gender related issues are, and desist from featuring them on the last pages or give them little attention.
Mbabazi appealed to journalists to take up their roles and help the government and society take affirmative action by giving due attention to gender based challenges.
Nivatiti Nandujja, the EASSI representative also told the media to always pick on key issues that affect women and address them to the public through the media.
“The media needs to create awareness in all the sectors, including politics, health and education. For example, most women don’t cover political stories because of the mentality that they are meant for men,” Nandujja explained.
She told scribes to empower themselves to influence several areas that society has misconstrued to be solely covered by men.
Aimee Muziranenge, Gender Advisor at the Gender Monitoring Office, who also attended the forum, said that Rwanda is a role model for the rest of the region when it comes to promoting gender.
She however noted that there are still a few gaps that need to be filled.
Muziranenge urged the media to conduct a gender analysis and ensure that gender is mainstreamed in all sectors by raising such concerns.