Female journalists in Cameroon have taken a commitment to continue raising women’s issues and mainstreaming gender in their reports, all in the bid to set an agenda that benefits women everywhere.
The women reporters drawn from various parts of Cameroon, took the commitment after attending a four-day workshop on hostile environment reporting organised by Sisterspeak237.
Statistics on gender mainstreaming in the various sectors in Cameroon are on course to be developed but the women observed trends during the workshop which point to a biased representation of female folk in the media.
The more than 25 female journalists detailed their experiences reporting and mainstreaming gender in a hostile environment and most of them described their conditions as stressful and being trapped between a rock and a deep sea, as a result of pressure from parties in conflict.
However, the various resource persons brought in by Sisterspeak 237 took turns for four days to empower them with tips they can use to tell their stories while staying safe.
One of the participants, Brenda kiven, a Journalist with , The Guardian Post daily explains how the workshop gave her a brand new perspective on crisis reporting; “Being a reporter from crisis torn North West region, there were times I found myself reporting superficially on events which affected women deeply. But with the various training on human rights and conflict reporting, I think I am now apt to delve into critical analysis on who suffered what.
Asked what she plans to do different, Kiven said she intends building sources and projecting more stories of women- led initiatives in the crisis stricken regions.
Another participant, Linda Neh Ngobesing, a Journalist with Cameron’s State Media, CRTV, said she plans on changing the narrative and mainstream gender in her reports. She said the workshop’s slot on Gender mainstreaming made her understand how presenting women as victims, oftentimes take away their power.
To her, the workshops’ practical lesson’s on reporting on the field and staying safe online are all concepts which she found interesting. “The lesson on how to stay safe online gave me new tips on how I can protect myself online”
She enjoined other editors like herself to be sensitive on how violence is reported about women and initiate programmes and reports that will build the image of women and female activists.
In the end, the journalists agreed that, “it is important for women to tell their own stories while taking measures to protect themselves.
They regretted the hazardous working conditions, media outlets struggle to provide their employees the protection they need to report in dangerous areas. Most of the female Journalists intimated that they operate without life or health insurance.
At Sisterspeak 237, this is a new dawn for gender representation in the media and the quest to empower female reporters in telling the stories of women which will gain grounds with similar exercises scheduled.