What Happens Now? Discussing Women and Girls' Issues Once the Mainstream Media has Moved on
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Dr Glory Dharmaraj, US Coordinator for the Global media Monitoring Project of the World Association for Christian Communication
Dr Dharmaraj shared statistics and trends of women in media from around the world. Since 1995 the number of women in media has risen from 15% to 24% however the number of women in the news has not significantly changed. The number of female reporters has not significantly changed since 2005.Mainstream media still portrays gender one dimensionally.
Gender justice has to occur at the grassroots and we need to be vigilant to gender constructs in the media.
Women don’t automatically support each other but they can become each other’s worst enemy. Women need to work together and support each other.
Lucia Scandala, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Ms Scandala shared how, in Argentina, a women dies every 30 hours due to gender violence.
She talked about how social media can create safe spaces for women to report how they feel and is a way of collecting data.
Ms Scandala shared how the UNICEF tool of U-report is being utilised to give young women and girls a voice. U-report is a free SMS social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues that a population cares about. SMS polls and alerts are sent out to those who sign up to the tool and real-time response information is collected. Results and ideas can then be shared back with the community.
From U-report data it was found that girls want to be a part of solutions. Girls reported that they wanted governments to listen to them and they wanted to be included in the conversations.
Girls know what their problems and often how to solve them. We can’t talk for girls but we need to give them a space to talk.
R. Evon Benson-Idahosa, founder and executive director of Pathfinders Justice Initiative
Ms Benson-Idahosa spoke of the 276 girls who were stolen in Nigeria on 14 April 2014. Despite the campaign gaining huge traction in April and May 2014 the media quickly moved on and forgot about the girls who are still missing.
She spoke of how easily the media can be manipulated by people with money and those who have power. However she encouraged people that if you start to make something a priority, the media will make it a priority too. Don’t just click on something online, share it, send it, and repost it. We need ‘activism not clicktivsm’.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
Salvationists have a responsibility to make sure that important issues such as violence towards women and girls and gender inequality are not ignored. It may be possible for Salvation Army corps and centres to explore what it means to create safe spaces for their young girls and women to share freely using social media and online tools.