Empowering Women in Media

©Media Development Center, Birzeit University
Capacity Building and career development for women media professionals.

The Communication and Information Sector aims to further gender equality --one of the two global priorities within UNESCO’s 2008-2013 Medium-Term Strategy—by implementing specific projects that particularly target women, as well as by ensuring a balanced participation of women and men throughout its capacity-building efforts.

Like their male colleagues, many female journalists in the West Bank and Gaza endure intimidation, harassment, physical violence, detention and forced limitations on their movement. Furthermore, women journalists often face social restrictions,  and gender-related threats to their safety. They also continue to face discrimination when choosing to pursue a career in the media sector, only a few of them having media management positions or a presence in newsrooms. All this impacts on pluralism and public discussion, as female perspectives end up being underrepresented in media content, where a stereotyped image of them prevails.

UNESCO is committed to fostering the free expression of women’s opinions, concerns, needs, and aspirations. For example, through a project financed by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), UNESCO Ramallah supported NISAA FM, the first commercial and independent radio station in Palestine that is managed by women and dedicated to women. The initiative facilitated training on radio and broadcasting reporting techniques for journalists from rural communities (read more about the project here).

Moreover, through a broader project financed by the Government of Finland, UNESCO Ramallah is partnering with Birzeit University’ s Media Development Center and Filastiniyat to advance women’s empowerment in the media sector. Birzeit University’ s Media Development Center is implementing training to strengthen cross-platform reporting and writing skills, as well an internship scheme. The programme is directed at new graduates and mid-career female journalists from the West Bank and Gaza, and pays special attention to the inclusion of women from marginalized groups, such as Bedouin, rural and refugees’ communities.

In turn, Filastiniyat established a peer support group for women journalists in West Bank and Gaza —the Female Journalists’ Club. The Club has organized several meetings, workshops and special activities strengthening the connections between its members. It has also facilitated a number of internships, defended female journalists’ rights and denounced instances in which they were infringed upon.

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