Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the United Nations called on the media to ensure that women politicians have the same access as their male counterparts.

This was said by the representative of UN Women, Ms. Beatrice Eyong, during a program organized for media executives in Lagos.

The event, titled “National Dialogue with Media Leaders on Gender-Sensitive Reporting”, was organized by UN Women in collaboration with Women Radio and focused primarily on how the media should report gender-sensitive issues. gender by amplifying and prioritizing women ahead of the 2023 elections.

Eyong explained that the purpose of the dialogue was to discuss ways to encourage gender-sensitive reporting on electoral issues, including the positive portrayal of women to the public.

She noted that the media had a big role to play in highlighting gender political issues.

Eyong noted that women politicians in Nigeria often complain about negative portrayals in the media, adding that based on statistics, Nigerian women have been marginalized and grossly represented politically in Nigeria.

She further lamented that although about 48% of the population of Nigeria are women, they were poorly represented in the Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly.

“As the 2023 elections approach, it is necessary for the media to make the participation of women in politics an integral part of their agenda. The media needs to demystify the myth that the public sphere is the exclusive preserve of men. There should be equal access to the media for female politicians and the media should use gender-friendly language,” Eyong added.

Also speaking, Women Radio 91.7 Managing Director Toun Sonaiya said it was timely for Nigeria to plan for inclusion.

“A better understanding of gender equality paves the way for development because it shapes people’s minds. Gender-based violence has negative effects on development or economic growth. Without the minimum representation of 30% of both genders, development cannot be sustainable,” she added.

According to the 2020 report authored by Luba Kassova on The Missing Perspectives of Women in the News, a publication of the Bill and Melinda Foundation, Nigerian men are quoted four times more than women in the media.

“Men are quoted in online news twice as often as women in the UK, three times more often in South Africa and the United States, four times more often in Kenya, five times more often in Nigeria and six times more often in India,” the report adds.