Friday, March 9, 2012
Celebrating rural women’s access to media and information
Women participation should increase in the media both as content producers and as active consumers, says UNESCO on the occasion of the annual Women Make the News initiative celebrated every year at International Women’s Day (8 March).
The theme for this year’s Women Make the News campaign - Rural women’s access to media and information – seeks to underscore and stimulate knowledge exchange on good practices in this area as undertaken by public service broadcasters, commercial and community media and NGOs working to improve rural women’s access to media and information.
“In Nepal, media has a crucial role in creating economic empowerment and political participation for rural women,” says Axel Plathe, Head of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. Radio Nari Aawaaj in Jumla, Mid-Western Nepal, is an example of the power of gender inclusive media in rural areas. The radio station, established with support from UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC), is one of the first community radio stations in Nepal run entirely by women, for women.
The station has been operating since August 2011, airing news and educational programmes for example on health and women’s rights. Radio Nari Aawaaj has also created solidarity among the women and given them a platform to share their joys and sorrows, regardless of caste or social background. The entertaining and educational programmes also make long working days more bearable.
“For the first time Jumla’s women have the possibility to have their voices heard. Also the men’s attitudes have started changing when women are doing things that have traditionally thought to be possible only for men,” says Gauri Khatayat of Radio Nari Aawaaj.
UNESCO invites editors-in-chief of Nepali newspapers, as well as radio and television channels, to join this initiative, and to produce special programmes on rural women’s access to media and other information. Editors-in-chief are also invited to entrust women journalists and reporters with editorial responsibility for the newsroom over the duration of the Women Make the News campaign.