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THE ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF OWERRI MUNICIPAL)
The mass media may have a crucial role in either reinforcing, or challenging such inequalities. Television, radio, newspapers and film have long been recognised as key players in society: helping to define people’s sense of taken-for-granted normality (see Eldridge et al., 1997). “The role of Mass Media in promoting Gender equality in Nigeria in Nigeria in Nigeria”. This study examines the problems, first, defining the importance of women to participate in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria. The survey research method was employed in this study and questionnaires were used for data collection, then the hypotheses were tested using chi-square statistical procedure to reach a definite conclusion. The results reflect that Mass Media have positive impact in Promoting women to participate in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria. In summary, Mass Media is found wanting in fostering development for gender equality in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria. In recommendations, suggestion of ways to stimulate female participation was made by looking at practical examples of how this was done in the pre-colonial era. Finally, in conclusion, The need for gender equality is simply the thing to do especially in this age of globalization and change. The need has not been more urgent in the current political dispensation in Nigeria, leaders must provide political developmental program that will propel women in economic, political and social development.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Gender has become one of the "fault-lines" running through the political landscape of Nigeria. Since independence in 1960, Nigerian women have been challenging their role in society. The formation of women movement in the country has lent an impetus to the struggle of women and helps put women issues in the front burner. Consequently, a few Nigerian women have been appointed to important position and pocket of them have won election. The elections of 2003 in the country have not given a push to women; rather the elections have served as dividing lines between women and men. Consequently, "gender politics, social and economic life in Nigeria" has polarized Nigeria political landscape into two camps. The first camp is predominantly dominated by those who want to maintain societal traditions. The second camp is populated by women who are in pursuit of dismantling the patriarchal structure of society. Many studies have considered the issue of women's marginalization in Nigeria. For examples, Ejiogu (1982) considers barriers placed to keep women from prestigious positions. Lewis (1980) in her fascinating studies focuses on women's role in African society, their contributions, and the reason women have been excluded from development programs. Byrne et al, (1986) Afonji(1981) maintains that modernization theory cannot explain female subordination in Nigeria. Thestudy use Yoruba women as a case study, and concludes that the value places on women as biological and sociological reproduction function.
As research on the interface between women, media, and politics, social and economic life in Nigeria begin to develop the common means to begin to look at early research. In Images of Women in Mass Media, Tuchman (1978) coins the words "symbolic annihilation' to describe "the media's condemnation, trivialization and omission of women." Since then an avalanche of scholarship has quantified and qualified the news media's sin against women. (Fountain, ) For examples: Coverage of gender, media and politics, social and economic life in Nigeria has been explored by Norris, (J997): institutional sexism that relegates women to 'maternal punditry slots’ by Wolf, (1993). Media presentation of women politicians in a gendered lens in terms of sex role (see, Ross,(1996); Rakow, (1994); and Koch (1999); Iyengar, (1991) discussed the effect of framing and Jamieson (2003) considers how media set the agenda fornational debates. Based on this background, the way media portray women is contentious (Norris, 1997). This paper explores weather media coverage of women in Nigeria reinforces rather than challenges the dominant culture, and thereby contributes to the marginalization of women in public life. Added to this, the paper seeks to explore whether the media depict women through gender-relevant or gender-neutral perspective. In order to do this, the central question to answer are: are there significant differences in reporting news about women? Are women in Nigeria portrayed in sex oriented terms? And finally, is the portrayal of women seen in the news as gendered frame,(Norris, 1997). It ca failed in their functions as instrument for educating the masses.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
It is not a hidden fact that women are under represented in the field of politics, social and economic life in Nigeria. This may be because of the basic assumption that “a women’s place is in the kitchen”. In other words, her home duties and family responsibilities should be her sole priority, thereby underling her active participation in national development in general.
Another assumption militating against female participation is that, female is biologically not designed for energy exerting and hazardous occupation. This argument may not be true because, with the age of automation and revolution in decision making intellectual ability counts more than physical energy.
The issue of gender bias too, contributes enormously to the low Promotion of Gender Equality in Nigeria. Beverly’ (1995), notes that the society assumes that women should be mothers, school teachers, hairdressers, secretaries, nurse, maids and social workers only, therefore, they do not need education not to talk of taking part in decision making. This believe is wrong, as both men and women need and can purse politics, social and economic life in Nigeria and projects in development, each in their own unique ways, alongside each other.
The home too is not left out in contributing to female lack of participation in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria. In the home husbands attitudes can directly or indirectly influence the choices their wives make in whether to enter into politics, social and economic life in Nigeria or not.
Many political parties, reflecting the more general conditions in the rest of society, do not easily accept or promote many women into their echelons, let alone permit women’s occupation of important positions within these parties. This issue is particularly important in view of Abdullah’s (1993) argument that to achieve women liberation, it will be tacked within democratic movements.
Thus, if this issue is not looked into, women will be illiterates and there will be backwardness in the economy of the country and growth of politics, social and economic life in Nigeria will depreciate.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to use Mass Media to promote gender Equality in Nigeria, also to voice out some cultural values in Nigeria that make it difficult for women to participate in the decision making process. There is need for attitudinal change and total reorientation in this respect.
Another objective of the study is to stop the issue of women being victims of violence in the home.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is expected that at the end of this study, to update knowledge within the framework of the study. Particularly, it will assist people’s views on the usefulness of Mass Media in Promoting women to take part in decision-making. This study will draw the attention of government to empower women to participate in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria through the use of radio, television, films and motion pictures in their packaging of news reports and events, and to academics in their practices and training of journalist. The government should promote the welfare of women in general. Also the federal government should promote the full utilization of women in the development of human resources and to bring about their acceptance as full participation in every phase of national development with equal right.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In this study, an attempt will be sufficiently made to answer the following questions.
Does colonial antecedent influences Gender Inequality in Nigeria?
To what extent does culture affect Gender Inequality in Nigeria?
Do Mass Media actually Promote Gender Equality in Nigeria?
Does Gender Inequality in Nigeria depend on their exposure to Mass Media?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following research hypothesis derived logically from the problems posed in the research questions.
This is necessary in order give direction, focus as litmus test of the statement of claims or prepositions contained in the rein.
H1: Colonial antecedents influence Gender Inequality in Nigeria.
H0: Colonial antecedents do not influence Gender Inequality in Nigeria.
H2: Culture affects Gender Inequality in Nigeria in
H0: Culture does not affect Gender Inequality in Nigeria
H3: Mass Media actually promote gender Equality in Nigeria.
H0: Mass Media does not actually Promote Gender Equality in Nigeria.
H4: Promote gender Equality in Nigeria depends on their exposure to Mass Media.
H0: Promote gender Equality in Nigeria does not depend on their exposure to Mass Media.
In my study, it is obviously seen that the Mass Media will always be at its peak in promoting Gender equality in Nigeria in Nigeria through which these women are enlightened, educated and sensitized more on political, cultural and social activities.
This will certainly correct the gender in balance in politics, social and economic life in Nigeria and promote Gender Inequality in Nigeria .
Mass Media has contributed greatly to the gender inequality reforms in our country through her numerous programmers’ on politics, social and economic life in Nigeria.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There are many limitations ranging form not knowing where to start, not knowing who to consult or approach for materials not knowing what next to write in various segment of this study and not actually knowing who to put me through in achieving my work.
Secondly, as we know, our nations economy is very bad that finance become a serious problem to my research study due to lack of fund to get to some places, people and to get one thing done or the other done. Due to that it creates a barrier to the study.
Finally, back pains, dizziness as well as the researcher’s respondent’s inability to return questionnaires that was given to them adequately.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
In this study, certain key words will be explained into conceptual and operational definitions.
GENDER EQUALITY: Equal treatment of women and men in laws and policies, and equal access to resources and services within families, communities and society at large (11).
GENDER EQUITY: Fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men.
ROLE: The degree to which somebody/ something is involved in a situation or an activity and the effect that they have on it.
MASS: A channel through which information/ programmers are sent out on television or radio.
WOMEN: Womanly-having qualities held to be appropriate.
PARTICIPATION: Taking active part in that particular activity or event.
POLITICS, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LIFE IN NIGERIA: The activities involved in getting and using power in public life and being able to influence decision that affect a country or a society.