Jane Naana Meets Female Journalists Ahead of Party’s Manifesto Launch

By; Gifty Arthur

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the Vice-Presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has held a meeting with female journalists in Accra, ahead of the party’s manifesto launch for this year’s elections.

The meeting, which forms part of the NDC’s way of collecting views and concerns of interest groups, to form part of the policy document, brought together female media practitioners from print, radio, television, among others.

The former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), in her welcome address, acknowledged the contribution and important role female journalists play to stay employed, while ensuring their families and the home are catered for.

While acknowledging the tough nature of the job, Prof Opoku-Agyemang, who once practiced journalism as host of a programme despite her busy schedules as a lecturer, said female journalists, must not give up.

She said, while it is important for journalists to tell the stories of others, including children, the vulnerable and marginalized and so on for policy makers to proffer remedial measures, it is crucial that these women, make time to also tell their own stories to inspire others and attract solutions to their problems.

According to her, it is better for one to tell their own stories, instead of allowing others to tell them.

“We also know that we need to navigate many things. You know our own lives are full time jobs. Look at everybody sitting here from morning till evening, our own lives are full time jobs. Now if you have to add anything at all then it becomes challenging for you.

Whether, it is raising a child, whether navigating your way around your bosses at work, whether it is negotiating for pay raise, whether is taking care of your parents, minding your siblings, community work, your party work, your church work, whatever it is, but the day is still 24-hours for us.

What should policy makers know?” She said “ The long hours [in radio] put women off. Why should it be a put off? That should help us play other roles, so we can join the print.

And this is why as women and especially as journalists, you have the unique understanding of the nuances in telling our stories. We should tell our stories.

Usually, when you don’t tell your stories somebody tells it for you. And as I told many people at different for a, information is never innocent. Even if it is data, what is data, data is information and it is a question of what you selected, how you put it together to get a certain result, it is not innocent.

So, we are appealing to our women journalists to tell the stories of women. What it is like, how it has been like to get to where we are. It is very important. It is that unique perspective that can shape policy,” she noted.

Responding to questions from the gathering and promising to take views on board for a future NDC government, the professor of Literature argued that, often when men do take positions that differ from women, it is not because they are wicked, but mostly because they don’t have same perceptive as women, so it is important women speak up and make their positions well defined and clear.

She said, as the NDC says it is going to ‘build the Ghana we want together’, it is important that it, includes the views of everyone”.

She advised that journalists, reduce the temptation to focus most of their attention on those who have been successful, instead of paying more attention on the little things that make a great difference at the end.

She also argued against women often blaming culture, saying such should not deter women from achieving great heights and rising to the top.

The former Minister of Education, said she does not even believe culture hinders the progress of women, citing the examples of Yaa Asantewaa in Ghana’s past history as someone who stood out, despite this same culture.

Looking at the brighter side of life, the NDC vice presidential candidate, challenged the gathering, not to be afraid to take new challenges.

“We should not be afraid to take on responsibility. We are all yearning for the Affirmative Action bill to be passed 30 percent, 50 percent. Sometimes you call the women they won’t even come. Where are we going to get the 30 percent from? Is it just 30 percent for just for the show or it is because we are serious? So, what is stopping us from stepping forward we need to examine that and what happens to those who step forward? You and I know the story.

So, if we refuse to take the space, if we refuse to take the opportunity, we are not going anywhere. And taking the space means being confident in the training and in the lessons we have learnt. So, when we take space then we are able to offer our perspectives when the opportunity presents itself. Yes sometimes is all about the name calling, but did you kill some bodies child so what is the point”?

Answering questions on some issues outside of the topic for the meeting, Prof Opoku-Agyemang, touched on the controversial free Senior High School (SHS) flagship programme of the government and the NDC’s position in the event that it wins the coming election.

According to the former Education Minister, the party in its 100 days, will organize a national dialogue to address challenges of the sector.

She said, the dialogue will deal with pertinent issues, such as the quota system and payment of allowances at the teacher training colleges, as well as the free SHS policy.

“We want to have a national dialogue on education. Listen, education is not only a small part of it. It’s a whole link and if the primary school children don’t have text books, you and I should be worried about what knowledge they are taking to that Free SHS. Shouldn’t we should be interested in that? We should be interested in the number of trained teachers we are churning out from our colleges of education, if the allowance is back along with the quota and you have a youthful population the quality we want?

So if we decide we don’t want the quality, the job is easy so we have to decide what we want so it not about the Free SHS. So when we have that dialogue, we want to hear your voices again as you say. When we want to take a step.

We will go out and listen, we say let’s review this they say oh review means cancellation I have never heard that definition before. NDC says they want to cancel free SHS. And even today NDC says when they come, they will cancel free SHS. Who said that? Today, you can’t cough without someone recording you so where did Mahama say that?  Where did NDC say that?” she said.

Present at the meeting was former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection under former President Mahama, Nana Oye Bampoe-Addo, first ever female Youth and Sports Minister and former Ambassador to Germany, Akua Sena Dansoa, member of NDC’s Economic and Finance Committee, Dr Sharif khalid and also former Eastern Regional Minister and onetime District Chief Executive (DCE) of Birim North, Mavis Ama Frimpong, as well as campaign spokesperson, James Agyenim-Boateng.

Some notable female journalists who attended the event include; Gifty Anti, Portia Solomon, Anita Akua Akuffo, Helen Appiah Ampofo, AJ Akuako Sarpong, Beatrice Adu, Naa Ashorkor Doku Mensah all of Media General.

Akosua Ago Aboagye, Adjoa Yeboah Agyei of Peace FM and UTV, Angel TV’s Naa Atwei Oduro, Ohemaa Woyeje, GHOne’s Lilly Mohammed, Jackie, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo of the University of Ghana Communication Studies.

Others include, Accra FM’s Nana Ama Agyarko, Nana Yaa Brefo, Ama Titi Okrah of Onua television, and allied organizations such as the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Private Newspaper Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).


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