By Wendy Mangale
Women political aspirants should package themselves well in terms of content, agenda, communication and presentation to improve their relations with the media.
Everlyne Kwamboka, a member of the Kenya Editors’ Guild, said this was one of the strategies that can be employed by women politicians to strengthen their working relations with the media.
She was speaking during a meeting with the aspirants held at the Nairobi Hilton Hotel on February 11th in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights aimed at promoting gender-responsive election coverage.
Ms. Kwamboka advised the women aspirants to invest in professional teams to handle communication and media engagement. They should also attend trainings on how to handle the media. Further, she urged them to uphold their integrity.
The engagement forum identified obstacles women political aspirants face when working with the media as:
- A misleading narrative that women are their own enemies, hence they do not support each other in political aspirations;
- The sensationalisation of women’s stories; women are portrayed as sympathy seekers;
- Difficulty in accessing the media, hence no opportunity for coverage;
- Policies that hinder women’s ability to vie for higher political positions, e.g., financial policies;
- Lack of training on media engagement; and
- The juggling of other roles in society that may interfere with their political roles.
From the challenges listed above, a number of recommendations emerged:
- Women politicians to grab their own space in the media by providing content that makes them memorable, hence noticed by the media;
- Women aspirants to embrace training opportunities to learn how to present themselves in the media in terms of communication, dressing, and confidence;
- Women aspirants to capitalize on social media and community radio networks as platforms for exposure;
- Media to hold the hands of women aspirants and help them build networks;
- Media to make a conscious and deliberate effort to ensure more women are covered in the media;
- Women aspirants to understand the Kenyan media to know which one resonates with their electorate; and
- Women should have backup systems when it comes to fulfilling their other roles in society.