Group Raises Alarm over Nonrecognition of Women in Agric Development in Nigeria

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Stakeholders at a one-day training for Journalists on Gender Reporting for Land Rights and Agricultural Development Issues in Nigeria, has raised the alarm over the nonrecognition of women in the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria.

The stakeholders made up of journalists and NGO, lamented that despite the fact that women contribute over 70% of the workforce in the agricultural production and food supply in the Nation, their stories are not being told, instead the credit is being giving to the men.

According to them, there is need for the media to begin to give attention to the women who are doing great things in the agricultural production so as to place them at forefront and recognize them for their hard work.

The group were reacting to the report of a finding by Media and Gender Enlightenment Initiative (MEGEIN), with support from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), on “Gender Reporting for Land Rights and Agricultural Development Issues” in Nigeria.

The study which considered the land rights of women as regards to land ownership in Nigeria. It also x-rayed how women can benefit from agricultural endeavours, not necessarily the peasant farming method.

The study also focuses on journalists who usually report issues relating to land rights and agricultural development beats, with the expectation that when journalists are trained to represent the rights of women properly, it will go a long way to help the cause of women.

The report was presented by the convener of the training workshop, Hajiya Jamila Dahiru, a Lecturer at the Mass Communication Department of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

According her, “the focus of data analysis revealed that over 70% of the stories were on agriculture and farming. This indicated that the focus of stories on land right were very low and even when they are mentioned, references are not made to the female gender, who predominantly constitutes more than 60% of land users, in most cases, for subsistence agricultural purposes.

“It is not unusual that these stories did not refer to women mainly when agricultural issues are mentioned, given that the stories took a national scope and referred mainly to government policies as against specific mention of human rights.

“Again, the mentions of women in these news stories were very scanty, maybe due to the fact that all the stories were from reporters and human sources. These reporters for agricultural stories and land rights were of the male gender than the female gender.

“In a way, it may appear that these reporters are not gender sensitive or do not take issues of land right to be news worthy. The nature of these reporters was further revealed by the content of the stories which has 67% male as against 33% female, showing that more male news subject were interviewed.

“The interview of the female gender only occurs, according to findings, when they are experts. The story also revealed that there were no women as victims and no story on women. In essence, women were not the primary focus of stories on
agricultural development or land right issues.”

The training was organized at the weekend in collaboration with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Chapter.

Earlier, Chairman of the Chapel, Midat Joseph, thank MEGEIN for bringing the training to members of his chapel, pledging his chapel support for the NGO.

He urged the NGO not to relent in building a gender sensitive mass media in the state and also encouraging female journalists especially to develop superior skills that would enable them play major roles in reporting land rights and agricultural issues.

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