WanaData Africa
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WanaData Africa

GMMP-WD Fellowship: Improving my capacity to tell data-driven stories that confront the culture of impunity in the media.

By Anibe Idajili

In Africa and around the world, women are gaining influence in the media. However, there is a substantial amount of information available about women’s struggles for equal representation in media, particularly for those who have defied social conventions of passivity and submission to male authority. In Nigeria, many women in the media fear being labeled as loud and disrespectful because they want equality with men.

As a journalist who is interested in themes related to women as an important market in the media, I really wanted to tell stories about how women are depicted differently in media and ways to decrease the reliance on stereotypes of women in media. I was able to do so thanks to the WanaData-GMMP Fellowship by Code for Africa’s WanaData initiative and the World Association for Christian Communication.

With mentoring and technical support, the Fellowship provided me with the opportunity to explore the intricacies of gender inequality in the media. It improved my capacity to tell data-driven stories that expose and confront the culture of impunity in the media, as well as the underrepresentation of women in positions of power.

My first story was about the persistent gender disparity in media career roles. It not only exposed the industry’s most typical pattern of low female representation in top positions, but also made specific recommendations for media organizations, such as drafting and upgrading gender equity, sexual harassment, and employment policies. In fact, it showed the disparity between the percentage of female reporters and presenters in print media in 2015 further shrank by 13% in 2020.

Using visual elements such as graphic demonstrations, my second story investigated how the Nigerian media and internet not only portray gender bias but also influence the construction of gender roles in the country. The story highlighted, with examples, how readers’ exposure to biased content can have a significant impact on their perception.

For my third story, I undertook a review of the history of the African media landscape and its significance for Nigeria while exploring the challenges faced and progress made by Nigerian women in the media.

My fourth story examined the imbalance in how female political actors, unlike their male counterparts, are described in the Nigerian media in terms of their morality, reliability, and appearance. It also looked at how this inhibits women in positions of power from receiving more than minimal representation.

For each story, I adopted the use online surveys, interviews, and documentary sources such as the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) reports. The surveys included open-ended questions that unpacked key gender issues that have played critical roles in women’s creative and media experiences.

During the Fellowship, I had several long conversations with female veterans in the Nigerian media regarding the current state of gender exclusion, which I found to be quite illuminating. Notably, given that our struggles as journalists are similar, I was also able to build meaningful bonds with other women in the media as a result of the Fellowship.

Producing stories about gender equality and inclusion as part of the WanaData-GMMP Fellowship was really fulfilling and aligned with my journalistic goals. Now I get to put my Fellowship experiences to good use, not just for the benefit of fellow journalists, but also to make an impact on the Nigerian media.

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