In an effort to increase visibility for women candidates in the upcoming election on December 19, the Alliance for Women in Media Africa (AWMA), has trained some candidates in good communication skills.
The training held in Tamale, Accra and Kumasi for candidates who had successfully filed their nominations, was intended to equip the participants with skills to craft convincing messages as well as effectively communicate with the electorate during their campaign.
Apart from the candidates, some journalists were also trained on gender sensitive reporting and how to better tell the stories of women aspirants.
The training is part of an AWMA project with support from the Canadian High Commission to support and encourage more women participation in the District Assembly Elections.
Earlier in October, the AWMA launched its campaign to support more women to contest in the elections.
The Head of Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr Abena Yeboah-Banin, explained that the programme known as “Enhancing the inclusive participation in local governance” was intended to get more women involved both as candidates and also as reporters covering the elections.
“The idea is to engage the media and let them understand why it is important to improve the coverage that women generally get but more importantly, the women who are contesting in the election so that they are presented to the populace as viable candidates worthy of the votes.
“We are training them to better tell their stories, how to package their messages, how to argue their campaign messages and also how to engage with the media when they get the opportunity,” she said.
Dr Yeboah-Banin stated that a 2020 Global Media Monitoring Report, done every five years to look at how visible or not women are in the news, revealed that it would take 67 years to balance the equation in terms of representation in the news across the globe.
“I think it should be a worry to anybody who is really democratic at heart, because what this means is that, the democracy we are practising is actually a one-sided conversation.
“Women are not getting a seat at the table to discuss issues that matter to people with the communities and the country as a whole,” she said.
The Convener of AWMA, Shamima Muslim, explained that it was crucial to increase coverage for women aspirants in the media as they had a lot to offer.
She also pointed out that they were contributing to equipping the media with tools on inclusive reporting to give coverage to all forms of marginalised groups.
She said it was, therefore, the goal of the organisation to build the capacity of journalists to understand gender sensitive reporting to help build a better society.
The General Secretary of the National Association of Local Authorities Ghana (NALAG), Kokro Amankwah, said women’s representation at the district level was low, adding that they were less likely to be voted for when the country went to the polls.
“We believe that the Ghanaian society is a patriarchal society so there is, therefore, the need for women to be supported not because they are not competent, but because the system itself makes it difficult for women,” he said.
He called for a concerted effort to support women in elections and further called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to be an assistant to women aspirants.
“We cannot pride ourselves as a nation and think that we are the gateway to Africa in terms of democracy without paying attention to our women.
“Our women are highly educated, competent and experienced and have the will to work and succeed,” he said.