Improve Gender Balance -Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka

By Hellen Nachilongo Hnachilongo

 African media still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality because women’s voices are underrepresented in science, sports and other development issues.

This was said on Wednesday August 22 by UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, at the summit dubbed: Gender and News Summit 2018, Reporting on Sustainable Development in Tanzania. According to her, generally men have a lot to say in science, technology and sports, saying only 3 per cent of heroes in sport are women.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, reacts to questions during a press conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. Participants in a two-day conference for Syrian women sponsored by the U.N. and the Netherlands say the upcoming Syrian talks in Geneva must include women’s representatives and push for constitutionally guaranteed equality between women and men if there is to be lasting peace. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women,  (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

“Almost over 20 years have passed since Beijing recognised the role of the media but, we still have a long way to go. We chose Tanzania to host gender summit because we think it has a chance to succeed in women issues,” she observed.

She stressed that Tanzanian media should be encouraged to be gender sensitive so that it can be an example in gender balance. “Produce stories that are encouraging those who are not seen to be seen,” she said.

Constitutional and Legal Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said that instead of writing negative stories about women, the media should address key, positive sustainable stories that portray women the way they are supposed to be.

“The role of media is to shape perceptions, creativeness and social realities of women in society. Unfortunately, most stories reported remain biased against women,” Prof Kabudi said.

He stressed that media should ensure they publish well balanced stories and raise awareness on importance of women instead of focusing on stereotypes resulting in biased stories.

Prof Kabudi added that media should continue to engage with the government and private sector when reporting gender issues in order to bring best results on women issues.

He said the government has been pushing for the achievement of the global sustainable development goals particularly on gender equality by reducing tax on sanitary pads and introduction of free education.

The goal, he said, was to ensure no one was left behind in achieving an improved living standard in a free and just society.



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