politics map

“It will take 50 years to reach 50-50 parity” 

A unique visual tool to capture women’s participation in executive government and in parliaments around the globe.

The map of Women in Politics provides a snapshot, as of 1st January 2017. It includes a country ranking for both ministerial and parliamentary representation, as well as statistics on women in political leadership positions – heads of state or government, speakers of parliament, and ministerial portfolios held by women throughout the world. 

The number of women heads of state or heads of government fell from 19 to 17 since 2015, and progress in the number of women in parliament continues to be slow, according to Women in Politics 2017, which can be accessed in English by clicking hereDownload in Spanish. Download in French. The map is enlargable and you can zoom to areas of interest on your home screen.

IPU data shows that the global average of women in national parliaments increased just slightly from 22.6 per cent in 2015 to 23.3 per cent in 2016. The number of female speakers of the house, however, is up to the highest so far, with 53 out of 273 posts.

Martin Chungong, the Secretary-General of the IPU says “In 2016, we saw confirmation of a trend we had been seeing, when it comes to representation of women in parliament, there is progress but the progress is excruciatingly slow. At this rate, it will take 50 years to reach 50-50 parity,” Mr. Chungong told the press. “This is a warning signal; we have to do something about this.”

Regional snapshot of women’s political power

Regionally, women’s representation in the Americas made the most significant gains, according to a press release from UN Women. Women’s participation in parliaments rose to 25 per cent from 22.4 per cent in 2015, even as the region saw a drop in heads of state with the presidents of Brazil and Argentina leaving office.

In Asia, women hold 11 per cent of ministerial posts, led by Indonesia whose Government is comprised of 25.7 per cent women.

Among the Arab States, 9.7 per cent of senior executive posts are held by women, led by Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, at 23.1 per cent and 26.7 per cent, respectively.

In Europe, the total percentage stood at 22.5 per cent. A surprise came from the Nordic countries which have traditionally led the global stage in politics, but whose number of female ministers fell by more than six per cent to 43.5 per cent.

Female ministers in Africa saw a decline in numbers, after years of steady growth. About 19.7 per cent of the region’s ministerial posts are held by women. In Johannesburg in 2016 an IAWRT impromptu theatre event scratched the surface of the uphill battle for women who aspire to political representative roles. 




(Article adapted from WURN – Women’s UN Report Network)

IAWRT International invites members from countries in the global South to apply for a scholarship to study in journalism, mass communications or releted areas.

Deadline: April 30 2017. Send your application or queries to the Secretariat, [email protected]. Click for more details.

Nepal film festival

Selected films from the succesful 2017 IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival held by the India Chapter in New Delhi in March will travel to Nepal for the first time.

The IAWRT Women’s Film Festival in Nepal will be held on  Monday10th April 2017 (28th Chaitra 2073).

9am at the Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu.

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Call for applications – IAWRT /FOKUS Scholarships for Studies 2017

IAWRT International invites members from countries in the global South who are studying, or want to start a study in journalism, mass communication or similar, to apply for a scholarship (maximum one year).

The total fund for 2017 is 7000 USD, which will be divided between 3 or 4 applicants.


1. You must be a paid-up member of IAWRT for at least the last 2 years

2. The area of study should benefit the activities of IAWRT International and/or your local IAWRT Chapter and women in media.

3. Area of study can be for professional development to help the applicant to maintain and strengthen her journalistic skills, or for training on media leadership and management skills.

4. Financial support can be used for professional development training and studies only. (Not for travel and accommodation costs)

5. The member must provide documentation of acceptance from the approved institution.

Recipient Obligations:

1. The beneficiary shall report on the use of their scholarship and study progress, in the middle of the course and upon completion. Failure to report will result in IAWRT demanding the return of scholarship money

2. Proof of completion from the learning institution/faculty must be provided.

3. IAWRT International shall be informed of any other scholarship that the recipients are given.


April 30 2017. Send your application or queries to the Secretariat, [email protected] The decisions will be announced on 15 May 2017.


  •  All applications will be reviewed by a special committee set up by the International Board.
  •  The committee will contact the head of the applicants local IAWRT Chapter (if applicable) for feedback and endorsement, or require referees if there is no chapter in the applicant’s country.
  •  The committee will propose a list of beneficiaries to the International Board.
  •  The International Board will take the formal decision on the scholarship beneficiaries.
  •  The recipients must sign a contract confirming that the information in the application is correct and confirming the obligation to deliver a written report mid-term and upon completion of the studies 

“Across the world, civil society space is shrinking, and democratic actors and human rights defenders face daunting attacks”.

That stark assessment at the opening of the 61st Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women came from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. So, it was timely that IAWRT presented its documentary on the dangers faced down by women making news, and a panel discussion at its parallel event for NGO/CSW New York.

Sherine Tadros, (pic left) the head of Amnesty International’s New York (UN) Office, a former Sky news and Al Jazeera journalist, reflected that the space for media to do uninhibited reporting was also contracting. “I was a Middle East Correspondent that could no longer get to report from the Middle East, I was always based in the Middle East, from Damascus to Lebanon to the Gaza strip to Egypt, but I found that increasingly, the space was getting smaller.”

The Executive Producer of Velvet Revolution, Nupur Basu, said “If this is the century of the media, this decade has become the most difficult”.

“The most disturbing thing is when a journalist cannot report out of her county she has to report in exile”. The documentary features two women journalists in exile and one driven from her home.

One of the five local directors who contributed to the 2017 documentary, was Ilang Ilang Quijano, who profiled a younger and an older woman journalist in the film. She reminded the audience that the Philippines is the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists. according the IFJ.

“It is even more dangerous now under the Durtarte administration. Now more than 7 thousand people, ‘drug suspects’ have been killed. I have interviewed some of the families – one of the children – her parents were shot in front of her – the younger sibling was even being hugged by her father when he was shot – just missed the kid by a few inches, so it is horrible.”

“Journalist are being pilloried by the government for reporting on the drug killings …. For the women journalists, the notch gets higher, because of the abuse on social media, online and also the threat of rape that women face when they are in the field.”

Freelance Zimbabwean web journalist and IAWRT board member, Violet Gonda said she had been in exile for almost 17 years, after being banned for working on a shortwave station from London which reported atrocities.  

“In the Zimbabwean Parliament, the Justice Minister, in answer to a question in Parliament, said the six [of us running the station] were free to return, but in the country’s prisons.”

They broadcast for more than a decade, “but in 2014 it was forced to shut down because of a lack of donor resources. I have continued to try to set up alternative ways to broadcast. Currently I am trying to set up an online platform.”

After listening to those stories, Amnesty’s Sherine Tadros said she was “struck by the incredible crackdown that we are seeing, not just on journalists, but anyone that challenges the narrative of the state, and whether that is human rights advocates or lawyers, or journalists, we are all somewhat in the same boat.”

“I think that what is really stark is that we are sitting here discussing this in the United States where we have a President that is doing a very similar thing.”

Nupur Basu pointed out, in a brief q & a session after the film showing, that the attacks on the media women were not just attacks on single journalists but the thousands of people they reported for.  

The world premiere screening of Velvet Revolution was in New Delhi on March 3 during the13th Asian Women’s Film Festival. More details abouthe documentary project here. Inquiries to [email protected]





consultation day2

“The economic model is not working”

Nonee Walsh

Several thousand Women from around the globe, who are active in women’s issues, have been flooding into New York to learn, network and lobby around the annual meeting of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) which aims to shape global standards on global progress to equality. This year’s emphasis is on the changing world of work.

However, their work will be “in the face of obstacles caused by the growing nationalism in the world” says Dr Susan O’Malley the Chair of the New York based umbrella group of women’s organisations, NGO/CSW New York. She opened its Consultation day with a call for all women registered to attend the CSW to be allowed to enter the United States. She urged organsiers to make sure that hose denied visas had their voices heard by Skype or phone in parallel events organized by CSW/NY. It was later revealed that three delegates from the international Domestic Workers Federation 1 from Tanzania, and 2 from Nepal were refused entry to the United States.

The Executive Director UN Women Phunzile Mlambo-Nguka also focused on the current global situation “driven apart by inequality, insecurity, conflict violence and a staggering migrant and refugee crisis”. The UN Under Secretary General says economic inequality and a rhetoric of intolerance have a profound impact on the promotion of women’s rights … it is a crucial time to promote economic justice, gender equality and international cooperation.”

Keynote speaker, Argentinean doctor and women’s activist, Dr Mabel Bianco, the 2017 Woman of Distinction awardee, also had a dire view – she expected the situation to get worse  for women’s rights in the next year. “The struggle in Latin America and the Caribbean has had many advances … [but the] political contest worldwide is against human rights and specifically women’s rights”.

She is the President of the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer) which is part of her ongoing work in areas such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive rights and gender-based violence.

Dr Bianco says there have been so many killings of women’s rights defenders that it would fill a book. “We said ‘no more’ after the death of Bertha Casilis”. Ms Casilis was a Honduran indigenous and environmental rights campaigner, killed in 2016 after receiving threats over a campaign against a hydroelectric project. However, she says the 39 girls who perished in a fire at a youth home in Guatemala  after they ran away and denounced sexual assaults in the home, must be added to the toll of “women killed for defending their rights.”

For South America, she says the resources rush is one major threat “private interests wanting land to exploit … need to understand their wealth is not threatened if they do not respect women’s and labor rights.”  As well, fundamentalists arguing against sexual education are stopping women from exercising choice and preventing the necessary process of society redefining masculinity and femininity.

Dr Bianco says, “the implementation of laws to end violence and discrimination are just a fight for equality and justice.” Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, the Chair of this year’s session of the CSW – made the same point, “the argument against women rights are contradicted “by simply upholding rationalism and humanity.”

Just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world

A panel entitled Women’s rights and Gender equality in Work barely skimmed the massive job ahead in ending both economic and gendered inequality, but its complexity was well exposed.

Radhika Balakrishnan from Rutgers University says that eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Quoting recent findings by the An economy for the 99 percent report, by aid organization, Oxfam, the Director of the university’s Centre for Women’s Global Leadership argues toward a simple conclusion

“The economic model is not working. General Motors make more money financing the people buying their cars car than they do selling cars. It is not delivering – money is just following money.”

“What if we had an economy where human rights was the purpose of it. So recognize women’s unpaid work – find out what it contributes and put in structures to account for them.”

It is also revealing that about one third of the world’s 67 million women workers, cannot even exercise the basic right to join a trade union. Elizabeth Tang the General Secretary International Domestic Workers Federation says they are simply not recognized as workers in the legislation of many countries, including her home in Hong Kong.

On the practical level, given the acknowledged growth in inequality, that “very few women in poverty are speaking for themselves” according to Esther Mwaura the Executive Director of GROOTS. In Kenya, 80 percent of agricultural produce is produced by women’s labor. However, it is still seen as subsistence farming “financing is always micro when it is women’s work otherwise it is financing. In terms of infrastructure, health and education, which are all part of the feminization of poverty “there are things which can be done to avoid migration,” she says.

Professor Balakrishnan posed the question “how do we de-legitimize professional economics – which has the ear of government and is 90 percent male.” While there are good female economists – she added ruefully “I know all the feminists.”

The consultation day was just a mico look at the ongoing challenge to improve UN conventions, and the monitoring of the progress in them becoming central to national government policies which can ‘repurpose’ the world economy.

The CSW meets for its 61st year and it is no understatement to say that there is a long way to go.

no rollback

“female journalists may increasingly find themselves in the cross hairs”

The International Federation of Journalists has backed global campaigning by the international trade union movement to end violence against women and close the gender pay gap. 

On International Women’s Day 2017 it has pledged to campaign for an International Labour Organization (ILO) convention against violence in the workplace. 

The campaigning by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is urging all unions to “join human rights defenders, women’s and feminist organizations in calling for the guarantee and respect of women’s rights at work, in the home and in our communities”. In particular, we are highlighting the urgent need to close the gender pay gap and to support an ILO Convention on ‘Violence in the World of Work’ as a means to stop gender based violence in the workplace.”

“Over the years, International Women’s Day articles have pointed out the exceedingly stubborn gaps that refuse to close in terms of access to training, jobs, promotions, equal pay and the right to work without threat, harassment or violence, says IFJ Gender Council co-chair, Mindy Ran.

As a consequence the international Journalists’ Federation “backs the global fight for women workers’ rights, particularly now, as there is a real threat to destroy the progress made over the past decades by the rise of right-wing political movements in many countries across the globe.”

The ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, has written “The surge in populist misogyny threatens to reverse progress towards gender equality and women’s autonomy.” The outline of the confederation’s campaign on women workers’ rights, can be viewed here. 

“At a time when tens of thousands of women journalists are facing threats, intimidation, harassment, violence and online and physical abuse, the need for action could not be greater” according to Ms Ran. “For female journalists, this rise of “acceptable” misogyny – as evidenced by the recent loss of legislation against domestic violence in several countries – is colliding with rising threats to press freedom.

As history has shown, these sorts of threats to the press usually lead to increases of violence. And, as with other forms of violence, female journalists may increasingly find themselves in the cross hairs”.

The the two organizations have been working on tool kits to give unions an understanding of the importance of an ILO convention against violence in the work place, and guides to organizing a campaign in each country. The IFJ will be releasing a dedicated tool kit for media workers in the coming weeks.

sourced from;

International Federation of Journalists  

International Trade Union Confederation

links to further information available through the above links.


Velvet Revolution  in New York

IAWRT will be  screening parts of the 2017 documentary Velvet Revolution about women making news in the face of adversity, at a parallel event to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) being held in New York.

The IAWRT event this year is complementary to the CSW61 theme. Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. The NGO CSW Forum Parallel Event is entitled Women Making News in the Changing World of Work.

The 2017 documentary had its world premiere at the Asia Women Film Festival in Delhi in the first week of March 2017. (pic producer Nupur Basu centre with IAWRT India members Chandita Mukherjee and DepikaSharma) Documentaty Project details here.

The documentary focuses on dangerous zones such as the Philippines, Cameroon, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh along with challenges for Dalit women in India.

IAWRT President Gunilla Ivarsson will introduce IAWRT’s continuing work with gender equality in the media and how we use the results of the Gender Mainstreaming Project report

The panel  will involve Indian executive producer Nupur Basu and a local producer from the Philippines, Milan Ilang Ilang Quijano as well as Sherine Tadros, the head of Amnesty International’s New York (UN) Office and freelance Zimbabwean web journalist and IAWRT board member, Violet Gonda. 

The event, alongside the 61st Session of the UN Comission on the Status of Women will be held 10.30 am March 16, 2017 at the Armenian Convention Center (Cultural Center) 630 2nd Ave, New York.

kenya report

Kenya scores only 30 percent

The Kenya chapter of IAWRT has hosted an event in Nairobi, launching the digital gender scorecard for women’s access to communications technologies in Kenya.

The launch of the digital gender gap audit scorecard for Kenya is part of the World Wide Web Foundation’s Women’s Right Online Initiative.

survey research revealed extreme gender and poverty inequalities in digital empowerment across urban poor areas in 10 cities. Women were 50% less likely than men to be online, and 30-50% less likely to use the Internet for economic and political empowerment.”

At the IAWRT launch of the digital gender gap audit score card for Kenya the country’s score was overall 30 percent, with its worst deficits being internet access and women’s empowerment and digital skills and education.

The gathering included workshop for leaders and ICT industry stakeholders, with discussions aimed at identifying concrete steps to address the challenges and gaps in Kenya.

It aimed to promote understanding of the sustainable development goals on women and technology, and the need to include gender in ICT policy formulation.

Participants included government representatives in Communications and Technology portfolios, UN Women, the US Embassy, the Web Foundation, Internet Service Providers, curriculum developers, industry regulators, media and law enforcers.

The World Wide Web Foundation, established by the inventor of the world-wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee aims to enhance access openness and participation on the web.

Its women’s rights online international report and global overview includes ten countries,none of which are doing enough to ensure fair gender access to ICTs and to the benefits of technological change. It makes specific policy recommendation to reverse this scenario through steps such as reducing costs to connect, introducing digital literacy in schools, and expanding public access facilities.

The foundation provides a tool kit to research the gender gap.