Women in Nigeria and Africa at large, have been encouraged to participate and contribute more to societal development on a global scale. This was one of the major highlight of Day 5 of the Social Media Week, which was recently held in Lagos.
During one of the sessions, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hosted a forum on female participation and engagement.
The session tagged ‘Turning up the Volume on Female voices’ exposes the audience to how the voices of women should be considered when the media reports news and creates content so as to reduce the notion that sees women as the second choice when stories are presented.
The Panel had senior broadcast journalists at BBC, Daniel Semeniworima and Christiana Ejiogu. BBC Editor, Ehizojie Okharedia and BBC Igbo Editor, Adline Okere were also part of the forum.
In the course of the panel session, Okere made known that the BBC is trying to change the perception that all women have to offer is matters or stories pertaining to family, food, fashion, children, amongst others.
According to her, so many women are doing big things around the country, which is why the BBC deliberately looks for female contributors to tell their unique stories on the platform.
“Within our services what we do is get women contributors, we can’t make good headlines or tell good stories without telling someone’s story so we deliberately look for a woman’s story to tell. We try and reveal those things women do that have been going unnoticed,” Okere said.
Capturing female voices in stories: One of the strategies implemented by the media organization to drive female engagement and speak to its female audience is to capture the thoughts and voices of women, by giving them a chance to speak on issues on the national level as well as the global stage.
Semeniworima gave an example, using the Coronavirus case in Lagos. He narrated that to get a female perspective to the development, his team deliberately went out in search of women, who were willing to talk on the matter.
He also said another way of telling the world that women have very strong views and ideas about big stories in the world is by getting a female expert to talk about the virus.
“Beyond that, for every story we do, we want to have female contributors. For a society like Nigeria and this part of the world, we believe that women will do more if you give them the opportunity to seek and the keyword to emphasize here is intentional so for each of our strategic meetings on story coverage, we ensure that female voices are captured. It has made us tell more engaging content that would impact more women,” Semeniworima added.
For Okharedia, practical attention needs to be given to women, as there are several women doing big things. He went on to urge women to discover what they are passionate about and proceed to pursue it with vigour in order to stand themselves out.
He said there should be no such thing as a man’s job because women are as effective and their voices are as loud as that of men.