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LAGOS – of the International Press Centre (IPC), Mr Lanre Arogundade,  on Thursday called on the media to encourage women participation in politics through their reportage.

Arogundade made the appeal during a “Training on Gender Sensitive Reporting“ organised by the of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).

Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, at the Pacific Hotel in Meiran.

Arogundade, who was represented by Mr Sanmi Falobi, the IPC Programme Associate, urged the media to remove cultural and religious stereotypes that limited women.

He said that women did not have enough financial muscle to garner support of political parties and so needed the media.

“In the Senate, we have 109 seats. In 1999, three women got there; in 2003 four women got there; in 2007, eight women and in 2011 seven women.

“In the House of Representatives, out of the 360 positions, in 1999 we had 12 women, in 2003, 23 women; and in 2007, 26 women among others,’’ he said

Arogundade said that in the governorship of the states, there was no woman state governor in the 36 states while for the position of deputy governor, there was in 1999, two in 2003, six in 2007 and three in 2011.

“In the state assemblies, total positions are 990 in the 36 states. In 1999, we had 12 women, in 2003, we had 36 women, in 2007, we had 54, and in 2011 we had 62.

“Maybe  it is a progression, but when one compares 62 to 990, there is still a very big gap. Out of electoral positions of 1,533 at the last election of 2011, we have 98 women in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Mrs Omolola Omotesho-Famuyiwa of the Cares Global Network, while delivering her lecture on “Reporting on Children Issues,’’ stressed the need for the media to protect the identity of minors.

Omotesho-Famuyiwa said the media had a duty to conceal the identity of children and women who may be victims of various abuses in order not to expose them to danger or stigmatisation.

She lamented that female journalists were also guilty of reporting female issues from men’s point of view.

On his part, Mr Lekan Olufodunrin of the Nation Newspaper, said the media shaped opinions in the society and that female journalists should use that strength to change stereotypes about women.

Olufodunrin urged journalists to report professionally in order not to betray public trust.

Earlier in address of welcome, the President of NAWOJ, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole said the association was born 25 years ago to bridge the training gap between male and female journalists.

Omowole urged chairpersons of the various chapters of the association to organise training for their members monthly.

She promised to train 85 per cent of NAWOJ members nationwide before the end of her tenure.

According to her, NAWOJ without training is no NAWOJ.

“I ensure constant training and retraining of our members so that at the end of three years, 85 per cent of committed members would have been trained at least once,’’ she said. (NAN)