By Candia Stephen
Arua. Media practitioners and news reporters in West Nile have been urged to be objective and be gender sensitive in their efforts to inform, educate and entertain their audience.
The call follows increasing concern over the widening gap in issues pertaining to women and men involvement and participation in various sectors in society.
While presenting some statistical facts to highlight the plight of women verses men, Margaret Sentamu from Uganda Media Women’s Association emphasized the need to be conscious, fair and inclusive of gender perspectives so as to end the stereotypes that still exist.
“We need to improve our knowledge and skills on gender, gender sensitive reporting and also be able to collect and document stories promoting gender equality and women’s voices,” Sentamu said.
According to reports women make up 51per cent of the total population in Uganda but command very little in terms of controlling the various lucrative public and private sectors, despite affirmative action to empower them.
“Aware of the power of the Media and the ‘call’ to be the voice of the voiceless, we are not expected to judge women because this inflicts pain, But rather we should be ‘emphatic’ to gender issues,” Sentamu added.
Meanwhile Keren Knipp Rentrop, a facilitator from Austria urged the journalists to ‘learn for change’ and be able to raise women’s voices on issues pertaining to their plight and that of the men.
Keren Knipp Rentrop a media expert from Austria making an illustration to the Journalists on Gender sensitive reporting on Tuesday. Photos by Candia Stephen.
Care International that is sponsoring the five days interface in Arua is currently undertaking humanitarian interventions in three refugee camps in West Nile.
Focusing on the imbalances arising from gender insensitive approaches existing in our society, Keren noted that cases of domestic violence, increased human rights violations among others are bound to occur and called for knowledge and understanding of gender sensitive issues so as to have impact on the audience.
Annete Nakandi, one of the facilitators from Mama FM based in Kampala says the training should be an echo to that gender issues should be at the fore front if the widening gaps between women and men roles are to be bridged.
She adds that women and men roles should not be treated in isolation but as one because the two make up gender.
In West Nile and most parts of Uganda, many negative cultural (stereotypes) norms and values like women are a weaker sex and cannot still keep women at bay in managing public and private sectors. These, the journalists agreed to end such stereotypes that ends up demeaning the dignity of women and men in society through offering platform and doing more analysis in the media.