Women radio broadcasters in Nicaragua speak out against sexism
“No one deserves to be solely referred to as a lesbian, an African, young or a woman. We must be considered for our qualities and skills,” said the representative of AMARC at the meeting of female community radio journalists that was hosted in Matagalpa, a mountainous region of Nicaragua, from 20 to 21 August 2012.
The 20 female participants of the workshop hailed from regions across the country, including Rio San Juan, Bocana de Paiwas, El Rama, Jinotega, La Dalia, Somoto and the capital city of Managua. Despite their geographical distance, they soon realized that they face many of the same issues and challenges.
For example, their work schedules often require either opening a community radio station as early as 4 a.m. or closing it late at night, exposing them to dangers on deserted streets. Their solutions have ranged from staffing daily shifts with female journalists and night shifts with male journalists to making a transportation agreement with a taxi driver in exchange for advertising his services. One radio station bought a bicycle for its female reporter. Another adjusted working hours.
Nicaragua’s Law 779 on violence against women, entered into force in June 2012, was at the centre of everyone’s mind. The radio journalists agreed that the law is comprehensive, innovative and modern, as it introduced new concepts of misogyny, sexism and different types of violence against women.
However, they said that some definitions required further precision. Not everybody was convinced by the law. For example, women from the Indian Mayagna minority stated that they would stick to their tribal law, and not to the law of the majority.
During the workshop, participants developed key messages for radio campaigns to promote the law:
“Your decision counts. Life without violence is within your reach.”
“Love is not abuse. It is trust, equality and respect.”
They discussed that in no circumstance should the campaign convey to a female listener the sentiment of being a victim or make her feel responsible for the violence committed against her. A campaign should rather encourage women to stand up for their rights and not accept violence directed against them. In that vein, the use of “Vos” (“You” in plural) rather than “Tu” (“You” in singular and informal) was encouraged.
The meeting of Women’s Networking Association of Community Radio Broadcasters of Nicaragua was organized at Fundación Maria Cavallieri in Matagalpa by Red de Radios Comunitarias de Mexico, and supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).