Promoting gender equality through broadcast technology
Globally, gender equality has been a concern that has raised many questions related to women and girls on the need for a balance on economic and socially based resolutions. The United Nations’ 2016 Africa Human Development Report stated that closing the gap would indeed be a boom for not only Nigeria, but for the continent’s economic and social prospects.
According to discussions at the recently held Global Citizens Movement Makers Summit, some of the identified challenges faced by girls and women include access to Education; Employment Opportunities; Reproductive Health & Rights; Maternal Health; and Gender Equality. There is a need for a paradigm shift to effectively implement the desired change.
The 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report published by the British Council reveals that gender inequality not only exists in Nigeria, but at high levels. There is a lack of gender balance in the economy, education, politics, health, access to justice and almost all areas of human development. The report says, “Nigeria’s 80.2 million women and girls have a significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies; 60 to 79 percent of the rural workforce is women, but men are five times more likely to own land. In eight Northern states, over 80 percent of women are unable to read compared with 54 percent for men, just as 70.8 percent of young women aged 20 to 29 in the North-West are unable to read and write and only three percent of females complete secondary school in the northern zones. Nigeria ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index
The desired change has been advocated for, in various ways over the years through traditional means of communication but this has yielded minimal results across the globe. Therefore, to change people’s perception, there is a need for more concerted efforts towards actively promoting gender equality and women empowerment; one of such efforts is to embrace technology.
Technology has changed the dynamics of communication. Visual content can be accessed through different social media apps, terrestrial television, digital satellite television, cable television, video-on-demand, web TV and IPTV. This has created a wide range of opportunities for the penetration of broadcast content across the globe. This has given several brands the platform to engage the populace through mass media.
Some organisations are also advocating for equal opportunities for both sexes. Just recently, Procter and Gamble strategized its approach towards driving the message to the public, using television content.
The company recently launched a new advocacy video featuring Sesame Street Muppets and children from around the world sharing their aspirations for the future and why they love to learn. The video addresses biases about the value of education and career opportunities for girls, and is expected to run on digital, social, and broadcast platforms in countries around the world.
To further drive the campaign, P&G is sponsoring a new Sesame Street Program that is set to explore issues of gender equity in child-relevant ways, with girls and boys role-playing different careers and family roles. The new content will be made available to Sesame Street co-productions around the world, which will also be made available to Nigerian audiences.
This innovative direction in advocacy will appeal to all races, and inevitably orchestrate societal change. Boys will develop a positive attitudinal change to girls and girls will have improved self-esteem. This will also be an avenue for parents to learn the importance of gender equality for all. The conversation around this new advocacy series will lead to a world full of more opportunities for everyone.
It has been noted that access to quality education would open doors to better health and economic opportunities. Many girls have been positively influenced by good education and they, in turn, gain control of their lives. Most importantly, it opens new opportunities and access to a world of bigger and better possibilities.
Nigeria has indeed tried to respond to the global development of gender equality with the use of international insights by initiating policies that seek to reduce gender inequalities in the socio economic and political spheres.
It is however, imperative that government should endeavour to review all gender discriminatory laws that still exist in the pages of our statute books in order to demonstrate her total commitment to eradicate gender inequality in Nigeria. Compulsory girl-child `education, which Nigeria has already adopted, should also be enforced and sustained.
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