Background to the study
In almost all societies, gender is a significant form of social stratification. Gender is a critical factor in structuring the types of opportunities and life chances faced by individuals and groups and strongly influences the roles they play within social institution from the household to the state. In almost every culture, women bear the primary responsibility for child care and domestic work, while men have traditionally borne the primary responsibility for providing the family livelihood. The prevailing division of labour between the sexes has led to men and women assuming unequal positions in terms of power, prestige and wealth (Obi and Bernard, 2010).
Women and feminist agitation has been that of women liberation from oppression, subordination, marginalization and devaluation, which were inflicted on them through legal statutes, cultural practices and brutish physical forces by men including their husbands, their male bosses, rapist and soldiers in war situations (Obi and Bernard, 2010).
Despite the advances made by women in countries around the world, gender differences continue to serve as basis for social inequalities. Many theoretical perspectives have been advanced to explain men’s enduring dominance over women- in the realm of economics, politics, the family and elsewhere. Women were discriminated against by stereotypes which restricted them to a reproductive role, and deprived them the access to resources which could have enhanced their social and economic contribution to the society. On the other hand, women, have in one way or the other affected the world politics (the like of Margaret Thatcher of England, Indira Ghandi of India, Hilary Clinton of America, Condolise Rice, US Secretary General and many more) the Nigeria women are not left out of the feminist struggles, as the memory of “Aba Women Riot” against massive tax payment still lingers Olawale (2010) in Fafunwa, (1974), The impact of Margaret Ekpo of Calabar, Chief Mrs. Funmilayo Anikulpo Kuti , Prof. Allele Williams of University of Benin, Chief (Mrs) Bola Kuforiji Olubi of United Bank of Africa (UBA), Mrs. Maryam Babangida who championed the course of “Better Life for Rural Women”, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, who helped in reviving the ailing economy of Nigeria and spearheaded the fight that led to the canceling of Nigeria’s debt in Paris club; Late Prof. Dora Akunyili of NAFDAC that championed the war against fake drugs in Nigeria and ensured importation, sale and use of genuine drugs in our markets, chemist, hospitals and the general public.
The influence of late Stella Obasanjo encouraged the inclusion of many women in the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanyo. Turai Yar’Adua also played her part in the programme of women emancipation, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan is carrying a crusade of “Women for Change and Development Initiative”, agitating for 35℅ involvement or inclusion of women in political post in 2015 general election and more in 2019 (Obi and Bernard, 2010).
However, this research focusing on the connection between the media, women and identity construction in Nigeria 2019 general elections. In other words it will be describing the role of the media and how the media portrayed the identity of women participants in the Nigeria 2019 general election. Experiences have reveals that womenfolk do not have equal status with menfolk in elective posts in political circles.
Active participation of women in politics cannot be achieved without genuine communication system. Communication serves as a vehicle through which segments of people relate with each other. Effective communication in political dispensation can only be achieved through the mass media. The mass media has the potential to assist in the constant promotion of women participation in politics by planning and mounting messages such as sustainable enlightenment campaign for general awareness about the potential leadership qualities of women and their role s in sustainable development in Nigeria.
Prior to the 21st century, most Nigeria women tended to be indifferent towards politics. This could be attributed to some issues or factor ranging from the nature of Nigeria society which is patriarchal with the prevalent notion that politics is not for women. In the 21st century there seems to be a slight change, many Nigeria women have not only become actively involved in politics some of them have also recorded great successes in political circle while media seems not given adequate or equal coverage to the female politicians and aspirants unlike what they given to their men counterpart.
It is against this backdrop that the research examines the Nigerians Perception of Media Reportage of Female Politicians and Aspirants in Nigeria with study of people in Akwa ibom state university Community which comprised the teaching, non-teaching and students across the eight faculties in the both campuses of the institution.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It is a fact that women are under-represented in the field of society particularly in politics and public offices. This may be because of the basic assumption that “a woman’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 also contributes enormously to the low participation of women in both national development and politics Olayinka (2012) cited in 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 and contributing to national development.
The media is the heart beat of politics and politics is the heart beat of democracy. Can we then say that the media is responsible for the women identity construction in the Nigeria 2019 general election while they failed to function in revealing the identity and capacity of women in politics? It is against this backdrop that this research examines Nigerians Perception of Media Reportage of Female Politicians and Aspirants in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
To examine the extent at which mass media report female politicians and aspirants in the previous elections in Nigeria.
To determine how women are portrayed in the media.
To examine the extent at which the media portrayal of women have effected respondent’s knowledge and awareness about women politicians and aspirants.
To examine whether media provide adequate coverage to women politicians, aspirants and contestants like their men counterparts in the previous elections in Nigeria.
1.4 Research questions
To what extent do mass media report female politicians and aspirants in the previous elections in Nigeria?
How are women portrayed by the media in the previous elections in Nigeria?
Does the portrayal of women by the media affected the view of media users in terms of having knowledge about the female politicians and aspirants?
To what extent do mass media provide adequate coverage to women politicians, aspirants and contestants?
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is expected to assist people on the usefulness of media in either mobilizing support for women or mobilizing women to take part in leadership, politics and generally in decision-making. This study draws the attention of government to empower women to participate in national development such as given them support and positions in government, private agencies, parastatals and political offices. This study will give directions to female journalists on how they can use their knowledge to educate and mobilize women into national development and politics and how they can safe guide their voting right through some programme like women’s right, women and election e. t. c Another important significance of this study is that all qualified individuals especially women should be freed to vote or be voted for without fear or favour.
Media practitioners will also gain from the research findings as it will expose them to what responsibilities media are to play in society and in women capacity building.
It will also serve as reference materials for future researchers who may want to expand or explore on study relating to this work.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study has been limited to the Akwa Ibom State University community particularly among the teaching, non-teaching and students. The institution community was selected because of the proximity to the researcher while majority of the respondents in the area are also matured (18+) to comment on the level of the coverage and the kind of effect it has on them.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Although, it is too earlier to start pointing at limitations, nevertheless, some limitations are visible at the outset of this research.
First, the research is limited to AKSU community Akpaden and Obio Akpa while other people in other places will not considered.
In all, the researcher will make sure that the constraints mentioned above are managed adequately to come up with a new and worthwhile knowledge for further research in the field.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Nigerians perception: It refers to the manner, ways in which the people in AKSU community view media prominence given to women aspirants, contestants and women folk in previous elections in Nigeria.
Media reportage: This refers to the level of attention paid to the women politicians, aspirants, and contestants especially during election so that people can know about them.
Female politicians and aspirants: These are the women or female those are participating in politics, aspiring or contesting for one elective office or the other in the country.
AKSU community: This include the teaching, non-teaching staffs and the students of Akwa Ibom State University Obio Akpa who are matured enough to vote in the previous elections in the country.
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