THE Editor of the Ghanaian Times, Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, has advised aspiring female journalists not to accept the stereotype view of women as second class citizens, but strive to attain greater heights in the profession.
She said journalism is one profession that comes with recognition and respect if one works hard and advised women journalists against asking to be given softer assignments since that would give their superiors the opportunity to sideline them in times of promotion.
Ms Yeboah-Afari was the Guest Speaker at the launch of the fifth Women’s Week celebration of the African University College of Communications (AUCC) in Accra on Monday.
This year’s celebration is on the theme, 'The prospects and challenges for a female journalist in Ghana.'
Ms Yeboah-Afari, whose working experience in the media spans over three decades, said even though being a woman journalist could present family life challenges, a lot of opportunities come with it through hard work and perseverance.
She lamented that there were not enough women in the highest levels of the Ghanaian media landscape even though there had been no effort to relegate them to the background by the appointing bodies or managements.
'I would say that there are not enough women in the high levels of the profession, but I do not believe that in Ghana, there is a glass ceiling or a deliberate attempt to keep women journalists down,' said the former president of the Ghana Journalists Association.
'I think that here in Ghana, a woman who proves herself very good at her job has as good a chance as her male colleagues of equal ability,' she told the students.
Ms. Yeboah-Afari, a former BBC correspondent, said one of the surest ways to achieve success in journalism is through reading and advised the students to cultivate the habit of reading 'since that is the only way you can perfect your craft and broaden your horizon.'
She spoke about the negative portrayal of women in the media as an ongoing battle, noting that, some media houses still use naked or half naked women to sell their papers. 'And it is not unusual for a press photographer to identify all the males in a photo and ignore the women,' she pointed out.
She advised female reporters to dress modestly for assignments if they want to be taken seriously by people they come into contact with. 'Dressing for an assignment as if you are going to the disco will not earn you respect.'
A recipient of the Companion of the Order of the Volta, for services to journalism, Ms. Yeboah-Afari stressed that the challenges notwithstanding, there are benefits and opportunities in the profession and cited the advantage of being a known personality and the possibility of making an impact on the destiny and history of one’s country.
The Times Editor advised women in tertiary institutions to contest top positions with their male counterparts and noted with satisfaction that AUCC females who contested their male counterparts during the last Students Representative Council (SRC) elections for various positions won all but one of the positions.
Joana Frances Adda, Women’s Commissioner of the SRC, AUCC, said more and more women were getting involved in journalism which was once a male dominated field. That, she said, was characterised by the increased intake of female students at various communication institutes and the visible presence of women at various media houses.
'We do not only take pride in our numbers but in our excellent performance,' she said and catalogued the excellent performances of both continuing and past female students of the AUCC.
The AUCC is a private institution dedicated mainly to the study of media and communication. AUCC started as the African Institute of Journalism and Communications, which was established in 2001 by Kojo Yankah, one-time director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism and a former minister of state.
It was officially accredited as a tertiary institution by the National Accreditation Board in March 2004.