A place no Woman dares enter: by African Women in Media
one of the elections to watch out for in 2023 by Council for Foreign Relations is still one of the most male-dominated elections, as out of the 18 presidential aspirants, we have only one female contender! The case of Ms Ojei Princess Chichi, the lone female candidate, is no different from other female contenders before her, making the Nigerian presidential seat a seemingly sacred seat reserved for men. Despite having formidable female candidates like Sarah Jubril from the 2003 presidential election, who garnered 157,560 votes which remains the highest any female has gotten so far in the country. Cultural perceptions of the role of women in society are often weaponised to maintain an unequal status quo for us African women. We have had to deal with being pushed aside and deputised. It has taken the breakthrough of some amazons like Dr Doyin Abiola in Nigeria, Catherine Gicheru in Kenya, Edna Machiriori in Zimbabwe, Nasrin Mohamed Ibrahim in Somalia and many others across Africa who have paved the way for women in media today! Perhaps, the case of the Nigerian political office is synonymous with some of our media organisations, where there is still little to no space at the table for competent female leaders. I posit that, at minimum, we should apply the 35% rule of parliament to the media; imagine a media landscape where at the very least, 35% of board members in media organisations are females and not just family-run establishments but publicly owned companies too. A media industry that is open to gender discourse and the place of gender towards a healthy and inclusive workplace. In 2023, our voices need not just be heard but respected, we demand it, and we’ve earned it. We have paid our dues in every aspect of the word! Media is like the political spaces in many African countries, with several factors against women. From online bullying, name-calling, violence, smear campaigns, hate speech, and so many others; it seems like the stakes are raised against us even before we begin. We deal with this as a community by supporting one another and cheering for our own. To sum it up, let your ovation be loudest when she wins because her win is our win.