Following a survey by the Ghana Women Experts (GWE) project highlighting the dearth of women’s voices in Ghanaian media, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo has stressed that the onus is on journalists to actively work to reverse this trend.
Data gathered by GWE indicates that more men who are specialists in various fields dominate radio and television programmes than their female counterparts, and the expertise of the latter remains unacknowledged.
The survey found that politicians, lawyers, doctors, lecturers and other men who call themselves experts and analysts dominated most programmes between February and June 2021.
Reacting to the survey, the Dean of the School of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Ghana, noted that journalists needed to appreciate the nuances that come with using women as sources and resource persons.
One of these nuances is cultural because of the role women play in the homes.
This meant that more women are generally unavailable on the spur of the moment to serve as resources to journalists, Prof Gadzekpo explained.
“I know I plan my life very carefully because I know that from Monday to Friday, I have no time to clean. I have no time to cook. I have no time to do anything, but on Saturday, I will do it.”
“So if you call me on a Friday evening, and you ask me to come on a show, it becomes very difficult for me.”
Prof. Gadzekpo thus said journalists have to “plan better” and “stop picking low-hanging fruits.”
She also expects a little more rigorous sourcing from journalists to ensure more diverse voices in their stories.
“They go after the people who they already know are in the public eye, who have spoken on the same issues and quite frankly, we get tired of hearing from the same people.”
In addition, Prof. Gadzekpo, said journalists have to win the trust of women.
“They are not sure that the media is going to be fair to them or is going to represent them properly, so they are a bit hesitant.”
“So there is a lot of work the media has to do to reassure people that they are serious, they will be fair, genuine and balanced.”
About the project
The Ghana Women Experts project assessed the number of women interviewed as experts by select media in Ghana.
It shed a light on the gender gap by drawing attention to the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in Ghana’s media.
The project sampled six flagship programmes from four radio and two television stations between February and June 2021.
It found that a low number of Ghanaian women were interviewed on radio and television in the media for their expertise during the period.
Out of 1,476 experts featured on the six monitored radio and television shows, only 128 of them were women, representing just 8.7 percent of the total number of experts interviewed on all the programmes.
The project also observed that hosts regarded men who had no expertise better than women.
They also found that male experts were given more airtime than female experts across the shows.
The six programmes surveyed were Citi FM’s Citi Breakfast Show, Joy TV’s PM Express, Joy
FM’s Super Morning Show, Peace FM’s Kookroko, Starr FM’s Morning Starr and TV3’s Key Points.