Statement from IFJ General Secretary
On behalf of the International Federation of Journalists I am delighted to send you a message of solidarity and goodwill. I am sorry I cannot be with you because the issues you are discussing today are of fundamental importance to all journalists as well as women in media.
Social and economic transformations underway in the Middle East and North Africa, for instance, are paving the way for improved gender equality for journalists. We see and welcome rapid growth in numbers of women journalists.
But not enough of them are represented at the top of our profession, in decision-making positions. Women journalists are joining unions more than ever before, but they remain poorly represented in the leadership where men maintain an overwhelming majority.
Across the Arab world and here in Palestine unions are trying to end this discrimination and to create space for women to play their rightful role. It is not enough that women are members; their voice must be heard; their talent must give direction to the leadership of our movement.
The IFJ Women Partners in Trade Union Leadership campaign has already had an impact with national seminars in the West Bank, in Tunisia, in Iraq, Algeria, Dubai, and Yemen. Across the region women in media are stepping up to demand their rights.
This is an exciting time of change in media in which all journalists are demanding the freedom to write and to broadcast without political pressure. The yearning for peace and reconciliation within the community must be reflected in the high standards of journalism we practice. But there can be no high standard to be proud of while women suffer discrimination and are victims of stereotyping within media.
That is why your meeting is important. It gives an opportunity to define the actions needed to demonstrate real and practical solidarity within the industry. When women are free from oppression; all of society will be free.
I wish you all well and congratulate you on your efforts.
Aidan White IFJ General Secretary