She mentioned in particular that, some of the bold and resourceful women who took up media practice and showed their courage and excellence should be credited for the increasing levels of women participation in higher-decision making levels.
Speaking at the re-launching ceremony of the defunct Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) in Accra, Ms Sowah said such courageous media women had shown that women not only deserved to have a voice but also had the will to make a positive contribution within that God-given right.
The theme for the re-launching was: “Ghana’s Development Needs the Strategic Contribution of Women in the Media: The Role of the Association of Women in the Media”.
It was attended by dignitaries made up of both veterans, the new, and the practicing journalists, that included Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, one of the architect of the rebirth of ASWIM, Mr Edward Amayibor, a former Supervising Chief Editor of Ghana News Agency and a former President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Roland Affail Monney, the current President of the GJA, as well as Mrs Yaa Oforiwa Asare-Peasah, Acting General Manager of the GNA, and Mrs Beatrice Asamani Savage, News Editor of the GNA.
Others included, Nana Kwesi Gyan Aperteng, Chairman of the National Media Commission, DCOP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo Dankwa, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, as well as representatives of other professional women groups, who all came to lend their support to the rebirth of ASWIM.
ASWIM was established in 1981 with Mrs Janet Amerley Esseku, a veteran broadcaster then with the GBC, as the first President, to help give visibility to women in the media who were contributing a lot to the growth of the media then, but were being relegated to the background at the time.
It however became inactive over the years, necessitating the need to re-launch to rejuvenate the Association for members to forge a united front, acquire the needed skills in the changing media landscape and be able to perform their duties excellently.
Justice Sowah said it was heart-warming that ASWIM had been re-launched, through which more women could be encouraged, directed and be prepared to play an increasingly meaningful role in the media and in national life.
“ASWIM has a critical role to play to ensure that women’s voices are heard and heard loud enough for action to be taken to change their situation and give all women and girls, greater life fulfilment,” she noted.
She said although Ghana had laws and provisions to protect the rights of women and girls, if abuses of these laws were not exposed, they would continue to be broken at the expense of the development of women and girls.
“We must work to change the attitudes of men and boys towards women and girls. Just as importantly, we need to build the confidence of women and girls and get them believe that they are as capable and as entitled to a voice as the men folk,” she said.
Justice Sowah said for the nation to advance strategically, it required the contribution of all its human resource, especially the large majority of women whose participation had often been at the periphery.
“There is therefore the urgent need for gender equity and the empowerment of women and girls to enable them fully enjoy their human rights as that was at the core of their progress”.
She urged female journalists to use their media platforms to build the confidence of women and girls and get them to believe in their capabilities of achieving greater feats as men and boys.
DCOP Maame Tiwaa Addo Dankwa, Head of the Police CID, urged senior journalists to carry the young journalists along and mentor them to greater height.
She also urged all women who were in strategic positions to shine more to prove that women could do better as their male counterparts.
Mr Monney said ASWIM should “target every female journalist everywhere” and nurture them to practice journalism in a more professional way, and to help erode “certain perception of female journalists”.
Mrs Comfort Asare, Director of the Department of Gender at the Gender Ministry, on behalf of the Sector Minister, called on female journalists to work to do away with gender stereotyping in the society.
Mrs Gifty Affenyi Dadzie urged young journalists to continue to improve their skills so they could be bold to champion the course of other women.
“I think that the dynamics are changing everyday on the media landscape, and women’s issues are becoming societal issues.
“And I actually think that if we empower the women in the media, we support them and we come together to network, we can make women’s issues societal issues instead of always putting them in the women’s pages and the women’s columns and all that… and that is why I’m throwing my weight behind ASWIM,” she indicated.
Mrs Mavis Kitcher, the Interim President of ASWIM, said the revived Association would provide members with opportunities to further enhance their skills through professional development, training, mentoring, networking and peer support.