|Co-founders of 'The Every Woman': Above L-R: Ndey Joberteh, Nyima Touray, Neneh Bojang|
Below L-R: Yassin Jeng, Monica Njie, Maimuna Sey (Photos taken from The Every Woman)
A new advocacy group, The Every Woman, has been launched on Thursday as the world marks International Women’s Day.
Set up by six Gambian women based in Norway and the United Kingdom, The Every Woman is set in motion with the strong conviction that image of women and the voicing of women’s concern should undergo a revolutionary change.
This change should go along with the advantage of modern technology and emergence of new types of media, that women should take advantage of, they said.
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, giving people a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
In a statement, the founders Monica Njie, Yassin Jeng, Nyima Touray (UK-based); Maimuna Sey, Neneh Bojang, and Ndey Jobarteh (Norway-based), said “The Every Woman” is a platform supporting women by providing a place where their voices and opinions do matter and will be heard.
It is also meant to create opportunities to give women a place to showcase their achievements and work.
Broadcasting over the Internet, Radio and TV stations, this will used as a means to deliver a range of subjects and topics on all levels, aiming to be as unique as every woman is.
The organisation’s aim is to raise everywoman’s voice, connect with women, share their knowledge and diversity, and its vision vision is for a station run by women for women, focusing on the subjects that matter to them.
According to the women, their mission is empowering women to reach their goals, desires and potential, we support women in every way by providing a place where their voice and opinions do matter and will be heard, as well as creating opportunities to give women a place to showcase their achievements and work.
The objectives are to support and help women of all ages and background, to raise the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media and, thereby, ensuring that their stories get told and their voices are heard.
“To transform not only the media landscape but also a culture in which women’s and girls’ voices, stories, experiences and images are neither sufficiently amplified nor placed on par with the voices, stories, experiences and images of men and boys.”
They observe that if one goes to the cinemas, switch on the TV, tune in to the radio, turn the pages of a magazine, or surf online, regardless of your choice of media, “you’d have a good chance of encountering stereotypes that perpetuate gender discrimination.”
“Women in all types of media tend to be thin and sexualized. They talk less than men. They have fewer opinions. And they are far less likely, in the entertainment industry, to play roles as leaders or professionals, or even as women who work for a living.”
“Research spanning more than 100 countries found that 46 per cent of news stories, in print and on radio and television, uphold gender stereotypes. Only 6 per cent highlight gender equality. Behind the scenes, men still occupy 73 per cent of top media management positions, according to another global study spanning 522 news media organizations. While women represent half of the world’s population, less than one third of all speaking characters in film are female. Cyberviolence has extended the harassment and stalking of women and girls to the online world.” UN Women
“Twenty years ago, 189 UN Member States recognized the central role of media in shifting the gender stereotypes that influence how we think and act. They made women and media one of 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action, and called on media everywhere to make a far greater contribution to women’s advancement” Un Women
“They agreed that the number of women in the media must increase, including in decision-making. More should be done to present women as leaders and role models, and to abandon stereotypes. Encouraging women’s training, adopting professional guidelines to reduce discrimination, and establishing media watch groups for monitoring were among measures to move forward. Women’s involvement in information and communications technologies and media networks, including electronic networks, were also highlighted as a means of strengthening women’s role in democratic processes.” UN Women
There has been some progress since the Beijing Conference. The percentage of stories reported by women has edged up in most issue areas, and women are among the most active social media users. But even a cursory look at media content shows how far there is to go.
Women’s Media Center Reports showed that little progress have been made and it showed that the news industry still hasn’t achieved anything that resembles gender equality. Women are on camera only 32% of the time in evening broadcast news, and write 37% of print stories news stories. Between 2013 and 2014, female bylines and other credits increased just a little more than 1%. At the New York Times, more than 67% of bylines are male.
Taking into consideration that TV programs give information and reflect on gender roles in real life, it must be stated that women’s images are distorted and unrealistic in these programs. All kind of entertainment programs portray women in a dual image. On one hand, they are decorative objects. Yet, at the same time, they are passive individuals in the household and in marriage who are dependent on men for financial, emotional and physical support.
Women have an equal right to participate in public debate, including in the media, and offer insights and ideas that must be heard. Everyone deserves to live free from the burden of harmful gender stereotypes.
The media shapes our world but so do women, as powerful agents of change in all areas of society. The Every woman believes that it is time for media to reflect this reality.
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