One of our key objectives as the Woman’s Newsroom Foundation is to focus on positive and objective solutions driven journalism on a wide range of issues, that affect women and girls-most of which are under reported in the mainstream media. We are also keen on working to ensure more visibility of women both as Journalists in newsrooms and in news content.
While research has shown an increased number of women working in the media industry in recent years, leadership positions are still a male affair.
While we believe that the level of participation and influence of women in the newsroom has positive implication for fair, balanced and objective content in news and coverage, we also acknowledge that not all women Journalists or those working in the media will be inclined towards issues that impact on women and girls or be gender aware. On the other hand, there are male journalists keen on covering issues of gender and specifically on women and girls, and doing so effectively.
That is why, in acknowledging the critical role the media plays in giving voice to diverse views, we have undertaken to focus on inclusive training targeting both female and male journalists on Gender Sensitivity and Diversity in Reporting and Ethics. We believe the resultant of persistent training of journalists on this is; fair and balanced gender portrayal, less and eventually end of the predominant biased coverage of women, sexism and use of gender biased language as well the tendency to treat women as objects and observers instead of players, and bringing to the fore issues that strongly and negatively affect women and girls.
Another key focus on this training is the ethics and principles of reporting and professional coverage of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against women and girls. One of the worst violations of the rights of women and girls world over is sexual and gender based violence against them and its manifestations. The media has a vital role in fighting VAWG and have a responsibility of enlightening their audience about its causes, working towards change of negative perception and attitudes towards women and helping survivors of all forms of this violence by having their voices heard. All this has to be done in a most professional and ethical way if we are to succeed in changing attitudes negative perceptions and behavior towards women and girls.
WON hopes to eventually develop a tool on Gender Sensitive Reporting and coverage of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.