African Women in Media (AWiM) and Fojo Media Institute on Wednesday held a virtual press briefing on the upcoming seventh annual conference. With the theme Media and Gender Violence, African Women in Media 2023 (#AWiM23) will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on 30 November – 1 December 2023 as a hybrid conference.
In her opening remarks, AWiM CEO Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, stated that the AWiM23 conference is a key event that brings together voices, ideas, and expertise from across Africa and beyond to address one of the most pressing issues of our time: The intersecting relationship of Media and Gender Violence.
“This conference marks a monumental occasion for gender equality in the media landscape, as it highlights our collective commitment to addressing gender violence and discrimination in and through the industry,” stated Dr Akinbobola.
Dr Akinbobola also highlighted that they are working closely with the Rwandan Convention Bureau to ensure that AWIM23 adheres to all standards for hosting an event in Rwanda. A commitment to excellence which reflects AWiM and FOJO dedication to the cause.
“We are also truly grateful for the support from all our partners: Fojo Media Institute, the Rwanda Media Programme, our official media partner, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, MacArthur Foundation and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, who has for the last couple of years supported our reporting violence against women and girls programme, Luminate Group, Wan-IFRA Women in News, Africa China Reporting Programme and our official airline partners RwandAir.”
She pointed out that the most exciting aspects of the conference is the African Women in Media Declaration on Media and Gender Violence, which will be co-designed with all the conference attendees and speakers. The declaration will provide a clear and actionable roadmap for addressing gender violence in media.
“We are honoured to have Dr Sarah Macharia as the Declaration Committee Chairperson. Her expertise and dedication to gender issues in media makes her the ideal leader for this important initiative.”
On her part Anki Wood, Programme Manager at Fojo Media Institute stated that the conference is particularly important because gender based violence is a huge societal problem and news media has an important role in covering the issue and shed light on the problem.
“But it is important to always cover these issues in a non-stereotypical way and be aware of ethical aspects. So, I see this conference as an important event to cover – to spread awareness and light on the issue – but it is also an opportunity for the media sector itself and you as individuals to build capacity on the subject,” she stated.
She also mentioned that that AWiM-Fojo’s joint research in 2021 showed to what extent Gender Based Violence (specifically sexual harassment) affects women media professionals work conditions and careers. Some women even leave the profession.
“The report Barriers to women journalists in Rwanda has had tremendous impact and has led to stronger awareness and understanding with several media houses having developed gender and anti-sexual harassment policies. A national committee for anti-sexual harassment is being formed within the media sector, “she stated.
She said AWiM is a very important actor, with wide reach and is influential besides having the capacity to mobilize change.
“AWiM unites women media professionals, but also other stakeholders (including men) that are important in the process to make news media more ethical and professional in this respect.”
She also highlighted many reasons for people to attend the conference beyond coverage but also to get a deeper understanding for what gender-based violence is.
“And I want to underline that even if the person harassed most often is a woman, it also happens to men and that is just as unacceptable.”
Some of the benefits she mentioned for attending the conference are:
- Experts from many fields will gather, great opportunity for interviews and in depth reports
- Building on network, building capacity, exchanging ideas with peers
- Following the development of the Gender declaration, which is a unique initiative to address and combat gender based violence.
- It will be creative and fun event using innovative formats
She concluded that Fojo and the Rwanda Media Programme are very proud to partner with AWiM to organise AWiM23.
“And we invite you all to join the Conversation: to Be Change makers. And together with us, come and learn and get deeper insights and find solutions.”