Womens Voices Within Olivia

January 5, 2016
For the world's daughters to see
Jeanne Bourgault

Why women’s approach to our world could change it forever – and for the better

Anne Marie Slaughter, a US foreign policy expert, once said that when John Kerry was nominated as LIS Secretary State in 2013, her son asked her: “mom, how can a man be a Secretary? For the previous eight years, two women had held the high-profile position. To me, the boys astonishment captures the influence of public role models in shaping a child’s perspectives on life and what can be done.

The story also makes me wonder haw would my awn daughters assess their range af possibilities in life? Outside of our family and community, wha are the role models they are hearing or reading about in the media?

US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton notwithstanding, the result is that a shockingly few women leaders or experts are available for them ta look up ta_ In fact according ta a report released recently that monitors media content globally (see link below),

“‘When the world consumer media – online or traditional – only 10% of all stories they see, hear or read feuture women.”

And far stories covering economics ar politics, that percentage plunges to between 5-7%.

It is 2016, the era of Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund) and Angela Merkel (Chancellor af Germany), but media coverage remains a glaring example that profound bias is pervasive In reality, women leaders are in every field, but they remain largely ignored by the US and global media. While the reasons far this gap are manifold — misogyny, culture, power control and simple lack of intention — the impact is serious and affects us all similarly.

The media has tremendous power to define what and wha is given attention in a community and holds a proven
ability to shape cultural norms. If women thought-leaders received equal time in news coverage, women would be sought equally as sources in all stories — economic, political and national security% The media would reflect the views of the entire community, nat just men in power.

Sadly, there is an increase in violence against women, online and off, when they raise their voices in media. This is a worrisome trend we are seeing everywhere around the world.

In Afghanistan, where women have enjoyed increased power through media, they are also experiencing a
backlash — sometimes with horrific violence.

In late September, the Taliban briefly overtook the city of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan and interestingly, their first concern has been to hunt dawn and threaten women leaders, fram lawyers and activists to those who run shelters Then, they looted and burned dawn the six existing radio and television stations in that town.

With several of those media cutlets, the Taliban hit two birds with a stone — Radio Television Roshani, Radio Cheragh and Radio Zhurah were women-owned and women-run. These stations served as the voice af the
communities in Kunduz and were a rare public space for women, in an incredibly conservative society These are our partners — two of the radio stations we built, many of the journalists we trained, and they remain crucial ongoing production partners.

These women must get back behind their microphones, so that the women of Kunduz can begin to rebuild their

I am proud to share with you three stories af remarkable women who are taking on ane af the most important
roles ta serve this cause and who are today’s role models far the world’s daughters to see.

See more information here Global media monitoring.