The Directorate of Research, Innovation, and Development (DRID) at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) has announced a new initiative aimed at fostering empirical studies into media representations of the First Lady and other female public figures in Ghana.
Known as the First Ladies Research and Education Initiative, the project seeks to systematically document the role of first ladies under Ghana’s democratic dispensation, the role of communication in their work and media coverage of the office.
According to a recent announcement by the Directorate of Research, Innovation, and Development at GIJ, the research contributes to the constantly understudied area of female participation in public affairs.
The announcement highlighted the importance and significance of providing safe spaces for female participation in public life, including the media ecosystem.
Although the office of the first lady is not an elected one, their work and representations can have a profound impact on society and the efforts towards female empowerment.
Historically, females have been disadvantaged in terms of coverage, participation, and access within the political and media space.
The academic project seeks to examine the gendered nature of news portrayals, issues of representation, women empowerment, and implications for Ghana’s democracy.
Director of DRID, Dr Etse Sikanku says the initiative will be extended to focus on other key areas where females are politically active such as parliament, political parties, and other areas of diverse interest.
He noted that the biases and nature of gendered mediation make it imperative to interrogate language choices used in news reportage of females.