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Women HIV/AIDS campaigners want more gendered coverage
December 06, 2012
organizations working on HIV and AIDS awareness prevention and women's
empowerment on Wednesday called on the media to include more gender
analysis in their reporting, noting the continued exclusion and
stigmatization of marginalized groups in mainstream media.
we have observed that our media has tended to be gender-blind, or
is urban based," said Dr. Emmie Wade, Executive Director of
Association Trust, during a Ladies Night discussion session
at Harare's premier journalists meeting place, the Quill Club.
The Ladies Night
discussion series is an initiative of the Quill Club executive in
partnership with the Women Journalists Mentoring Program (WJMP).
The WJMP is implemented jointly by the United States Embassy and
Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) and works to
develop professional leadership and writing skills for young women
Wade and Mary
Sandasi of the Women
and AIDS Support Network (WASN) were guest speakers at the discussion
and addressed the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS coverage.
that our colleagues are making in rural or insular communities either
go unnoticed and are generalized," noted Wade, whose organization
has over 5,000 members in over 90 villages throughout Zimbabwe.
media tends to stop at buzz words," she said citing the SADC's
declared goal of 50 percent female representation in parliaments
as an example. "That's what we read about in the papers.
The media do not report how we are going to reach the 50 percent;
how are we going to dethrone 50 percent of men; what do we do with
them; as well as the manifestations of this 'how.'"
was held four days after the 24th World AIDS Day, which had a 2012
theme focused on partnership: "Getting to Zero - My
Responsibility, Your Responsibility."
HIV and AIDS are population issues, our response in many cases has
been weakened by the fact that there is no gender analysis to see
whether we benefit most when we respond in a too general manner
or in a targeted manner," said Sandasi. "If you look
at most of the information that goes through the media, it is not
targeted - it is too general . . . (and) if we use gender to analyze
issues and we target a (specific) population, we find that it will
organization was established in 1993 with the aim of promoting and
facilitating the social, economic, educational and cultural advancement
of disadvantaged women, children and youth residing or working in
farming communities, said women's efforts were barely recognized
in the media.
convinced that once women are equipped with practical skills, they
are able to realize an income, make informed choices, they can have
options, and in most cases domestic violence is reduced,"
said Wade. She noted that "women's efforts at realizing
income are considered to be insignificant and believed to be temporary
without sufficient security and because of that, they do not feature
in the media."
the lack of attention to female controlled HIV/AIDS prevention devices
in the media.
take the statistics of HIV and AIDS, slightly more than half of
the people that are infected in the country are women. But when
we talk about prevention you find that we are putting more emphasis
towards male circumcision and not the ability of women and girls
to be able to use a gadget that they can control," said Sandasi,
whose organization started operating in 1989 and has promoted the
use of the female condom and microbicides research to empower women
in preventing HIV transmission.
criticism the women activists said HIV/AIDS organizations and the
media shared similar challenges. "Our vision is to create
an atmosphere where women and girls can enjoy their full sexual
and reproductive health rights," said Sandasi. "They
should have sex without fear of violence or being infected by STIs
and HIV. We all work towards providing targeted and sensitive information
to women which is a challenge for media as well."
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