Celebrate women’s quality, strides "Group urges media"
Speakers at a workshop held by the Association of Women in Media (ASWIM) have called on the media to publicise and celebrate the hard work and achievement of women making great strides in the country and around the world.
One contributor said women had been “erroneously stereotyped and depicted as glamorous sex symbols and an unskilled gender” that often leveraged their beauty to get to the top.
The speakers called on the media to take positive action and ensure that women were depicted holistically with a true image of what qualities they possessed.
The workshop in Accra was dubbed “Changing the image of women in the media — The role of ASWIM”.
It brought together women who have made strides in the Ghanaian media space, including a former Director, News, of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) and President of ASWIM, Mrs Mavis Kitcher; a former acting General Manager of Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs Yaa Oforiwah Asare-Peasah; a former Director of Television of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Mrs Betty Apau-Oppong; a retired News Editor and news anchor at GBC and author of “Women of Distinction”, Cornelia Amoah; and the Convenor of ASWIM, and Foreign and Supplement Editor, GCGL, Mary Mensah.
Mrs Kitcher said there was a need for semantic changes by the entire society to accord women their rightful place as equals to their male counterparts.
She added that inequalities needed to be addressed across a range of social and institutional systems, including government, the education system, family and other societal settings.
Ms Amoah also added that women making great strides should not be hidden, but must be given the acknowledgement for what they had accomplished.
Mrs Asare-Peasah, who spoke on the portrayal of women in advertisement, entertainment and its stereotypes, said all over the world, there was a very distorted image about women in advertisement and television serials which needed to be corrected.
The burden, she said, behoved women, especially those in media practice, to sound the trumpet about the many achievements of women to change the narrative and perception of women in society.
“Women are sometimes shown almost naked even when the products being advertised have no connection with the human body, hygiene or a lingerie.
Nothing has scarcely been done to prevent agencies from filling the airwaves with increasing numbers of commercials promoting the use of almost naked models,” she said.
In the entertainment industry, Mrs Asare-Peasah said, women were often seen dressed shabbily doing the “unthinkable” while giving some dance moves mostly in videos that bordered on what was derogatory.
“Why is this worrying? I think as members of the association, we are not only expected to protect the interests and welfare of members, but womanhood in general.
We need to use our skills to assist in the advancement of women,” she added.
Mrs Apau-Oppong also said although women were free from the clutches of men, they were not completely empowered.
She said traditions, societal norms and the upbringing of children had played key roles in how women were perceived, adding that the media had not been helpful in changing how females were portrayed in society.
“The media must stop depicting women as inferior to men and stop exploiting them as sex objects; the media violence and degraded images of women should be eliminated.
Women and men alike should receive training from both male and female instructors,” she added.