Press release: UN Women and Partners Launch the Gender Journalism Awards for the East and Southern Africa Region

Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021

19 May, 2021 –Today UN Women and Partners have launched the 2021 Gender Journalism Awards Competition for Journalists working in the East and Southern Africa region. The competition aims to promote gender-sensitive reporting while reflecting the work and impact of feminist movements in gender equality in the region. Efforts will also contribute to advancing the objectives of the Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalition under the UN Women’s Global campaign Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.

The contest is jointly organized by the UN Women Tanzania, UN Women Malawi, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the African Women Leaders’ Network (Tanzania and Malawi Chapters), the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), the Association of Women in Media (Malawi), and the MISA Chapters in Tanzania and Malawi. It and seeks to enhance multistakeholder partnerships in the regional gender space and to expand coverage of issues affecting the realization of gender equality in the region. Although the competition is open to all practicing journalists, the primary target audience for the Awards are young reporters below the age of 35, in the spirit of the Generation Equality campaign working to promote gender equality ideas by the youth. 

A total of 15 prizes will be awarded in November this year, in recognition of excellence in promoting the rights of women and girls, and in-depth coverage of the work by advocates pushing the gender equality and women empowerment agenda.

The launch ceremony was attended by close to 100 participants including senior government officials from Tanzania and Malawi, representatives from regional media organisations, feminist movements, development partners, the private sector and the civil society. Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Honourable Dr. Patricia Kaliati was joined by Tanzania’s Director for Gender in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Ms. Mboni Mgaza who represented the Permanent Secretary, Dr. John Jingu in officially launching the regional awards.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, the UN Women Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa (a.i.), Mr. Moez Doraid said UN Women is implementing a series of Generation Equality activities in the region, engaging with governments, feminist movements, civil society, the media, youth, and other actors to accelerate gains in gender equality.

“In Tanzania and Malawi we are focusing on building strong feminist movements and one of the activities is the Regional Gender Journalism Awards. Through our advocacy work and other programmes, we acknowledge that the media are a key ‘entry point’ for promoting gender equality, and transforming social norms because of their unique reach to broad sections of the population,” said Mr. Doraid adding that the Generation Equality campaign “is about everyone’s action, it is my responsibility, as well as yours, to continue pushing the needle towards the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.”

Journalists are expected to frame their stories in line with the five categories on: Women’s Rights Activism and Leadership; Protection of Civic Space for Feminist Action and Movement Building; Intergenerational Partnerships for Consensus Building and Succession; Feminist Movements and Financing for a Gender Equal Future; and Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality.

In her remarks, the Minister of Gender in Malawi, Ms. Patricia Kaliati said the need for the media to foster stronger partnerships in gender advocacy with the Feminist Movements has a great potential to yield game changer results. “These results can stir a major shift in narratives and framing and packaging of news articles through a well-informed gender-lens,” said Dr. Kaliati.

Ms. Mboni Mgaza, the Director for Gender in Tanzania emphasized the need to motivate and encourage Journalists through initiatives such as the Media Awards innovation, alongside pooling “our resources for development of their news reporting capacity and a shift to gender-responsive news reporting”.

She said the transformative role played by the media in advancing Gender Equality in the region, must not be underestimated. “In our strategies, we should bring the media much closer to our work, as critical allies who will collaborate with us in all programmes to support our efforts to highlight gender concerns, and in turn enhance our advocacy for more investment to improve the quality of life for women and girls in the region. We are therefore in full support of innovations to establish a network of Gender Reporters for the East and Southern Africa region, to promote inter-country exchange of information and collaboration for a Gender-Equal region,” said Ms. Mgaza.

On her part, the UN Women Representative, Ms. Hodan Addou said the media competition will create opportunities for South-South Cooperation, which will promote production of well researched regional stories and help to set a new regional agenda to drive collective efforts, and ensure no country is left behind under the Generation Equality campaign.

“This is the first time that UN Women is implementing this one-of-a-kind South-South media Innovation. It will promote information exchange and learning between the media, feminist movements, governments, development partners and all influencers of gender equality, through increased engagement of the media sector in the region,” said Ms. Addou.

Ms. Clara Mah Anyangwe, the UN Women Representative in Malawi said over the years, feminist movements have opened public spaces to women and other marginalized populations to voice their socio-economic and political demands, from changing the way power works to decentralizing and democratizing governance, engaging and amplifying diverse voices.

“Importantly, the media are a critical partner for regional agenda setting, awareness raising and promoting gender equality, women’s visibility including amplifying their voices. It is in this spirit that we are now fostering this unique partnership so that together, we move towards realizing our common goal,” she said.

Notes to Editors:

The Awards were inspired by a UN Women Global Campaign: “Generation Equality: Realizing the Rights of Women for an Equal Future” launched in 2019. The campaign is bringing the next generations of women’s rights activists with the gender equality advocates and visionaries who were instrumental in creating the BPfA in 1995, for galvanized actions towards Gender Equality. Through this campaign, six Action Coalitions were established to drive increased commitment in addressing gender gaps in the following areas: Feminist Movements and Leadership; Gender based violence; Economic Justice and Rights; Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality; and Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Based on human rights principles, and through a data-driven process of consultation with international feminist groups, grassroots activist organizations, governments and other partners, the coalitions seek to catalyze collective action; spark global and local conversations among generations; drive increased public and private investment; and deliver concrete, game-changing results for girls and women.

 

Call for Entries: The 2021 Gender Journalism Awards Competition 

For more information please contact:

Hanna Mtango: hanna.mtango@unwomen.org

George Mbewe: George.mbewe@unwomen.org