Monday, May 28, 2012

Ghana: Free Media Environment Hinders Women Empowerment

A resource person for ABANTU for Development, Mrs Faustina Boakye, says research has revealed that a liberalised media environment, with its attendant commercial pressures, often produces news and programmes that do not empower women or promote gender equity.

In such an environment, she claims that the underlining commercial interests that governs the media perpetuates the axiom which says, "Sex Sells", and these are responsible for some of the common problems of women representation.

Mrs Boakye made these assertions when addressing media participants at a day's workshop organised in Accra by ABANTU for Development to enhance the capacity of media. The event was in consonance with Section 7 of the Women's Manifesto for Ghana.

Speaking on the theme, Influencing Gender Responsive National Media Policy, Mrs Boakye hoped that with the growth of local adverting firms and the expansion of the music and film industries, their output would be more gender sensitive and respectful to women.

She said developments in the media brought on by technology advancement also posed new challenges such as stripping a well dressed woman naked or cutting the head of a lady well dressed and pasting it on a naked lady or vice verse.

She was worried that many of the policies formulated around technological innovations failed to consider women's concern, adding that, just as the Internet is perceived as the foremost information source for the future, so also must we see it as the foremost source for the potential perpetuation of inherited hegemonic that must be addressed at the local level.

She observed that the technologically driven information superhighway has the potential for good as well as evil.

The Internet, for example, allows women's group to set up their web pages and networks more effectively. But it can also be a source of women's denigration and exploitation, as demonstrated by the exploitation of Ghanaian women on pornographic website, She added.

Mrs Boakye stated that it has been suggested that because women, particularly gender-senstised women, have been excluded from decision-making position within the media, negative representation of women abound and the media failed to reflect the issues and perspective that were important to women.

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(Source : Public Agenda (Accra) via

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