March 2013
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Gender Equality Newsletter

 International Federation of Journalists


This year, for International Women’s Day, the IFJ is partnering with UNESCO and Women Make the News 2013 in the Global Alliance on Media and Gender. Over the past few years, more and more stakeholders look to the media as an essential component in public discourse. Acknowledging this, we talk a lot about “ethical journalism”, and write a lot of guidelines and codes of conduct. Perhaps, though, it is the right moment to speak more about why these ethics and guidelines are so important.
On one hand, it is about minimising harm to those we interview, recognising that the glare of the media can bring danger. On the other hand, and equally important, it is upholding the principles of fair and balanced reporting. Recognising that those seldom heard voices at the edge are as important as those shouting in the middle, and may contribute the balance needed to truly inform, rather than simply pander or entertain.
These are huge enough goals in themselves. Yet, it goes further, and acknowledges the responsibility and role, as journalists, to break through dangerous stereotypes, and walls of silence hiding violence, and sometimes death.
This is no simple thing, accepting this responsibility. Many of our sisters and brothers have been attacked, tortured, and even killed shining a spotlight where others do not want their actions in the light. When rape and torture are hidden behind terms like “tools of war”, instead of named as crimes against humanity. When death as a result of domestic abuse is either ignored, or numbers hidden as “accidents”.
It takes courage to buck the trend and stop using the old, hackneyed phrases that keep stereotypes in place. To frame violence against women as a human rights abuse, criminal, and when death occurs, murder, not the consequence of a “bad relationship” or the woman's behaviour or dress.
Not telling carries heavy consequences for all of us. Not shining that light allows the perpetrators to get away with it. Not naming allows us all to turn away and pretend it is not happening. Not presenting women's lives as essential, valuable and worthy of respect, but as victims or second class citizens, tells whole new generations that it is ok to do so, when clearly – it is not.
So maybe, today is the day to do something about it. Take a look at our information on ethical journalism, our guidelines, and at our best practice materials. And join us in celebrating the start of our new safety trainings for women, kicked off in Beirut, as the first of nine three-day training sessions in the run-up to the International Women's Day in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Mindy Ran
Chair of the IFJ Gender Council
Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Media
Politician’ Sexist Remark Stirs Outcry 

By Kerstin Klamroth
“Sometimes it is not very amusing to be a 32 year-old female journalist.” This was the first sentence of an article in the German magazine Stern that provoked an extensive and furious debate in the media on sexism. Laura Himmelreich, the author described in the article her encounter with Rainer Brüderle, a prominent member of German Free Democrats in the eve of a party congress at a hotel bar. Himmelreich was interviewing Brüderle about his candidacy.  During the interview, Brüderle made a sexist remark about Himmelreich’s body saying that she could “fill out a dirndl”.

Many female journalists in Germany shared Himmelreich’s experience. But until now they were silent and did not write or speak about the issue. It was the first time that somebody broke this taboo. Following the incident, thousands of women (including journalists), published their personal encounters of sexual innuendo at workplace under the Twitter hashtag “aufschrei,” (outcry). Many newspapers as well as major talk shows detailed the encounter between Brüderle and Himmelreich. 

Despite the fact that Germany has a female chancellor, Mrs. Merkel, many women say that gender equality is rolling backward in Germany. On the television, people discussed whether women should dress in the right way. According to the Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, 58% of German women said they have been subjected to sexual harassment, of which more than 42% of these cases happened at the workplace. In terms of wage conditions, there is no real gender equality at the workplace because women earn on average 22% less than men. They are also underrepresented at top management positions. In 2011, an association of female journalists named ProQuote, set 30% as the target for media companies to get women on their leadership positions. Currently, only 2% of the leading positions in the media in Germany are occupied by women. 
Celebrating the Girl Child

By Abha Sharma

Media reports concerning declining child sex ratio and consequent gender imbalance in society followed by success stories of girls in all spheres is beginning to break and crack conservative attitude in Indian society.

The Indian Government in 2008 made 24 January as the “National Girl Child Day” with the objective to re-affirm the value of a girl child in society.  While female foeticide is still prevalent in many parts of India despite intensive governmental campaigns, there is some encouraging news from elsewhere in the country.

Even in states like Rajasthan, once infamous for the practice of killing new born girls in some communities, rituals traditionally preformed to celebrate the birth of boys are now being adapted to welcome baby girls.  The border district of Barmer in western India initiated the Dhoondh ceremony for girls, which is traditionally celebrated in the first year of a boy’s birth on the occasion of Holi (the festival of colours).

There were also reports of kansi ki thali being played to announce the birth of girls, which was traditionally done to welcome the birth of boys. Thanks to media reports, some families have even showed the courage to hold the pagdi ceremony for the eldest daughter, conventionally held after the death of the head of a family, anointing the son or a male relative as an heir.

An Indian family celebrating the birth of a girl child. (photo credit: Abha Sharma)

(an Indian family celebrating for the girl child. Photo credit: Abha Sharma)
Safety Trainings for Women Journalists
The IFJ and its regional affiliates are organising a series of nine three-day safety training sessions for women journalists on 5 – 7 March. Women journalists working in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco will benefit from the training and learn about ways to secure their safety when reporting in dangerous environment.
For more information, please contact
Sarah Bouchetob.
Women journalists receiving first aid training in Beirut.     © IFJ
Status of Women Journalists in Europe

It has been more than 10 years since the IFJ last surveyed women in the unions in Europe. The IFJ Survey on the Status of Women Journalists conducted globally in 2001 concluded that while women represented less than one fifth of the members in the unions’ governing bodies worldwide, they represented more than a third of the membership of all unions surveyed.

The new report will update the 2001 survey for Europe. It will also look into youth as well as freelance and permanent staffers within unions’ membership. It will help setting gender policies in unions and assess the impact of the financial crisis on women journalists in Europe.
The report will be launched on 14th March at a roundtable organised by the IFJ in Brussels.
Contact: Pamela Moriniere
165 periodistas capacitados en “Periodismo con visión de Género.”

Con el apoyo de la Unesco y en el marco del proyecto de Fortalecimiento de la Red de Género de Federación Colombiana de Periodistas, Fecolper, entre 2011 y 2012, fueron capacitados 165 periodistas colombianos  de las 24 organizaciones afiliadas durante 5 Talleres regionales y uno nacional, en el tema  “Hacia un periodismo con visión de género”.
Se abordaron  temas como el concepto de género, violencia contra la mujer en el conflicto armado, legislación a favor de la equidad de género y periodismo, género y participación política.

Participaron  periodistas con diferentes niveles de acercamiento: desde comunicadores que tienen conocimiento previo y dominio del tema, hasta periodistas que por primera vez se enfrentaban a una intervención académica y a una discusión entre reporteros sobre los derechos de la mujer y el cubrimiento a favor de la equidad de género.

Los Talleres en su segunda fase continúan en el 2013 con encuentros locales.

Entre 2011 y 2012, la Federación Colombiana de Periodistas –organización nacional que congrega a 1200 periodistas, en 21 departamentos del país- ejecutó gracias al apoyo de la UNESCO, el proyecto Fortalecimiento de la Red de Mujeres de la Federación Colombiana de Periodistas (FECOLPER), que buscó –entre otros objetivos– promover una visión de equidad de género en periodistas de las distintas regiones del país, sensibilizar a mujeres y hombres sobre la necesidad de ejercer un periodismo con equidad de género y propiciar un mejor cubrimiento de noticias relacionadas con la mujer.
Women Make the News launched its annual initiative Women Make the News (WMN) to celebrate the International Women’s Day on 8th March. The WMN is a global initiative aiming to bring attention on gender equality in and through the media. This year’s theme is related to the Global Forum on Media and Gender to be held in November 2013 and encourages a “Global Alliance on Media and Gender”. The IFJ is a partner of this annual initiative and participated in the recent  Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media published by UNESCO.

Whether you are a journalist, trade unionist, academic, editor or citizen, you can all play a role in the WMN initiative. Here is how:
UNESCO Contact: Alton Grizzle
Baromètre et Panorama des bonnes pratiques en matière d’égalité et de diversité

Le Comité du pilotage du Plan en faveur de la diversité et de l'égalité dans les médias audiovisuels de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles présentera le 15 mars son 3e Baromètre de l’égalité et de la diversité dont les objectifs sont de quantifier et d’objectiver l'état de la diversité et de l’égalité à l’écran. Ce 3e baromètre se base sur l'analyse d’un échantillon d’une semaine qui représentait un peu plus de 430 heures de programmes diffusés sur 26 chaînes actives en FWB et 63.568 intervenants, acteurs directs ou figurants à l’écran.

Articulé sur les résultats du baromètre, le Panorama des bonnes pratiques en matière d’égalité et de diversité dans les médias audiovisuels de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles sera également présenté le 15 mars.

Pour plus d’information, contactez :
UN Told to Get Tough on Violence against Women

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) urged the United Nations and all national governments to take responsibility for eliminating violence against women and girls. The ITUC said in a public statement that the UN commission failed, for the first time in its history, to reach any conclusions because of conservative governments who ended up questioning the very fundament of gender equality.

The call came after the draft agreed conclusions of the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women which showed a lack of concrete actions by national governments to eliminate violence against women and girls.  The ITUC delegation present in New York will organise lobbying activities on the International Women’s Day on 8 March to pressure the UN and national governments to get tough on this issue.

For more information, please contact the ITUC.
Journalists Awarded for Gender Reporting

Thirty-one journalists were awarded for their media reporting promoting the activities of women in the political, social and economic fields. A jury consisting of experts in the fields of media and women rights selected the 31 winners among the 143 candidates. The prize was awarded by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the British Council and the British Embassy in Yerevan on 13 February. (Read more)
Belgium “Awards” Sexist Journalists

The Dutch-speaking Women Council in Belgium awarded this year’s Auwch Award to a journalist working at the newspaper De Standaard that said had offended elderly women. Lauched two and a half years ago, the Auwch Award was set up to highlight bad practices by either an individual or organisation in the media. Although the award is seen as controversial, the organiser defended that it has helped reopen the debate on sexism in society. (Read more)
Sexist TV Show Stirs Outcry in Germany

The German private TV der Deutsche Frauenrat stirred outcry over sexism due to a game show called “Who want to fuck my girlfriend?”. A group of gender equality activists, European Women Lobbying (EWL), has written an open letter to the TV station condemning the show. TH EWL said the show sends “misogynistic messages” through demeaning sexist clichés and promotes a model of sexist practice in society. (Read more)
14 March, Brussels
Launch of IFJ/EFJ report on the status of women journalists in European unions

Contact: Pamela Moriniere
14 March
Online meeting on Gender Equality in Media

If you have successful stories to share or challenges you face on gender equality, you can share them on the online meeting organised by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Contact Martina Castagnola
3 June, Dublin
IFJ Gender Council Meeting

For more information regarding the agenda, please contact: Pamela Moriniere
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Editors: Pamela Moriniere and Yuk Lan Wong

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