March 06, 2015
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Gender Council mark 8 March, International Women’s Day, by calling for access to leadership in unions and media organizations for women so that they can finally play a full and active role in society. As each year, the IFJ also reiterated the need to confront violence against female journalists by providing them with a safe working environment in media.
An IFJ press release says that according to recent reports, journalism is experiencing a "feminisation" process. The number of women in journalism faculties and media outlets outnumbers that of men. However, this majority is not reflected at management levels in those outlets and unions. That's why the IFJ wants to take all the necessary steps to ensure balance between work and family life.
In 2013, the IFJ launched the campaign "Stop Violence against Women Journalists" (#IFJVAW), that mainly focused on physical violence related to professional activities (female journalists being killed, threatened, attacked, harassed). The campaign also dealt with violence at workplace (moral and sexual harassment, bullying, salary inequality) and with what is called "silent" violence, which consists of keeping women away from decision-making positions simply because of their gender.
Last year, the IFJ recorded killings of journalists indicate that 12 female journalists were either targeted and murdered, or lost their lives in other ways in the course of their work. There were two killings of female journalists in Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, one in Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Paraguay and the Philippines, all due to targeted attacks or cross fire incidents. In addition, two female journalists died in work-related accidents in Bangladesh and Turkey.
“We know from research on violence against women that much violence and death of women still goes unreported. Upcoming research into violence against women journalists will help us begin to get a truer picture,” said the IFJ’S Gender Council’s Co-Chair Mindy Ran.
In a letter to mark the International Women’s Day, Ran urged unions to support the proposal for a Convention against Gender Based Violence in the Workplace which will be discussed by the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“If you really want to make a difference today act now, raise awareness, encourage more women to join and fully participate. Begin a process to create lasting change,” asked Ran.
According to the UN WOMEN, no country has yet achieved gender equality across all areas of public and private life, and significant inequalities persist between women and men.
“The global situation has significantly evolved during the past 10 years and we find more and more women amongst activists,” said the IFJ’s General Secretary Beth Costa. “ Yet, there's a lot more to be done. We want female colleagues to be fully included in training processes and unions' management and we call on the leaders to recommit to the Beijing Declaration in 1995, to the Platform for Action.”
Thus, some of the imperative gender issues remain, as pointed out Zuliana Lainez, head of the IFJ working group on violence against women journalists.
“Women are still kept away from organized movement, they still cannot reach those decision-making positions and organizations do not have the capacity to represent men and women equally. We're not talking about just respecting women on the paper but to really include them in debates about fundamental themes and in decision processes. This is a question of real respect, real recognition as pairs, with our differences,” she said.
The IFJ encourages journalists, unions and supporters to express their concerns over violence against women journalists and demand an end to impunity for these crimes by posting on #IFJVAW.