World Press Freedom Day

From where I stand: “Today, I am living my dream, because I got a second chance”

Aissata Ibrahim Maiga on why women’s representation in media matters

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mali Aissata
Aissata Ibrahim Maiga. Photo: UN Women/Gaoussou Cherif Haidara

I wanted to be in the media since I was a child. But I was pregnant at 14 years of age and by 15, I was married. My parents supported me to continue my education and I graduated, against all odds.

The contributions that women make at all levels of our society must be seen and heard. This is what drives me in my work as a journalist—young girls must be able to see that Malian women are fully capable of contributing to the development of our country when given the opportunity.

Being a woman in media means that you have to prove your professional competencies continuously, so that you are not judged (poorly) because you are a woman. For the most part, in Mali, men perceive women as weak and don’t see our strength. It’s important to change that perception.

I created a website—www.maliennemoi.org—to tell women’s stories, to show the women in Mali in all their diversities, and to reduce the negative perceptions about African women that remain both inside and outside our borders.

There are no ‘taboos’ on my website. It covers every issue that concerns women and girls and promotes women’s initiatives. We strive to portray positive stories of women who are leaders in politics, economy and peacebuilding, to break the stereotypes and inspire other women.

I am a feminist and proud to be part of that group of women and men who believe everything is possible and achievable for a woman.”

Aissata Ibrahim Maiga is a 37-year-old journalist from Mali, currently anchoring the 8 p.m. news on the national television. She is a strong advocate for gender equality and takes every possible opportunity to bring the issue to the forefront of her journalism. Recently, she led a workshop to enhance the communication capacities of UN Women Mali office staff to improve the visibility of their work on gender