Winners of the 6th Women’s Voices Now Online Film Festival We Are the Ones We’re Waiting For will be announced on March 8, International Women’s Day.

The Online Film Festival is an annual festival that celebrates and awards the best social-change films from around the world that highlight women in film and women’s rights issues.  

Each year, films compete for cash prizes, media features and the opportunity to have their films added to the WVN Film Archive for global promotion and viewing.

Check the WVN website for Full details of finalists.  The films will be be viewable on Vimeo Pay-Per-View through March 31st raising money for WVN.

Join the 5th ABU Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness, 25-26 April 2019, Hotel Radisson, Kathmandu, Nepal

Register and Enter Competitions at


Report about #MeToo, men and masculinity in nordic countries released.

Useful for backgrounds and reflections, even if not directly media related. 


Ugandan journalists are supported to re-evaluate their potentials and weakness, identify opportunities and become gender ambassadors

By Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye

The media statistics about women in terms of representation and relevance in Ugandan media are pathetic.


Keno Lilian is an IAWRT Uganda Re discover to Re impose mentor.

Lilian believes that making serious preparations for every assignment as a journalist puts one in charge of their own job and a master of every task.

“it should be a key attribute for every female journalist for every task assigned, such will automatically lift the female journalist above the basic mediocre positions they seem to want to settle for.”

Madrine Nabukera, is one of the IAWRT Uganda team of mentees

She is grateful to hav been selected as the opportunity came at a time when she desperately needed guidance on her career path.

Despite being good at almost everything in a television newsroom, Madrine wants focus and mastery to ably grow and develop into the prestigious and excellent female journalist she always dreamt of being.

Nankya Slyvia is another of the IAWRT Uganda mentors.

She believes it is an obligation for every journalist to adhere to the professional code of ethics.

“The code of ethics booklets should be part of every newsroom or media outlet, for daily reference, for it is important to have a set of good ethical procedures.” 

So a robust collaborative approach is required to achieve fair and better representation.

The 2014 Uganda National Census report says women account for 51% of the total national population. Despite that advantage in numbers the media does not reflect this balance in terms of news sources and positive portrayal.   According to the research by African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) on media coverage for the 2016 Uganda general elections, only 20% of women were quoted as news sources in election stories between September 2015 and May 2016. The Global Media monitoring report 2015 indicates that only 28% of Ugandan women were news subjects with the majority linked to subjects rated as ‘unserious’. 

The undesirable trends in media research statistics prompted IAWRT Uganda to engage with news editors and senior journalists on the agenda of gender mainstreaming in the newsroom; that gave birth to the IAWRT-Uganda Re discover to Re impose mentorship initiative.

The initiative is geared towards building a sustainable national pool of gender mainstreaming ambassadors through mentorship. The Re discover to Re impose Mentorship Project championed by IAWRT Uganda is a progressive initiative that  brings together journalists, students, institutions of learning, representatives of like-minded organizations or personalities and policymakers, to build a  sustainable pool of gender  media ambassadors.

Run under the theme; Re discover to Re  impose,  media practitioners,  especially women, ought to get back to the  drawing board and re-evaluate their potentials and weakness, identify their opportunities to promote gender-fairness and the threats that lie ahead in their struggles to be better positioned.(A SWOT analysis)  This would ensure gender sensitivity in internal media houses, human resources development, gender sensitive media content and elimination of negative portrayals of women in the media.

The initiative started with a pioneer selected group of thirty ambassadors that included ten mentors and twenty mentees to champion the gender cause in the media. The pioneer ambassadors were systematically selected by IAWRT-Uganda’s executive.

Building a sustainable pool of Gender Mainstreaming ambassadors through mentorship requires re discovering one’s potential to re impose for opportunities, thus it was imperative for the team to understand what gender and equity means in relation to the media alongside the legal frameworks that complement the strides towards equality.

Therefore, the Re discover Re impose gender mainstreaming workshop was held in Kampala in Dec 2018 to introduce the pioneer ambassadors to gender as a concept in relation to the media as well as the legal perceptive. Separate pre-orientation engagements with the mentees and mentors were held for feedback and development of a needs assessment tool to steer the mentorship process. Through career profiles which individuals made in their SWOT analysis, mentors were partnered up with mentees according to career needs and strength. This process of engagement is ongoing

During the orientation workshop, the IAWRT Uganda chairperson Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye, explained that Gender Mainstreaming project activities are focused on mentorship under the theme: Re discover to Re impose. She demystified the theme; saying that the re discovers are calls for re-evaluation of personal potentials, through undertaking a personal SWOT analysis to help better position themselves; then Re impose into the space of positive impact or opportunities.

Eunice challenged fellow female journalists to stop self-pity and to stand firm, to face their challenges with the determination to try again and again until the credible and impactful presence of women, at all levels, becomes real

Eunice says that if women re discover their potential and reposition to re impose into positions of power and authority then the negative portrayal of women in the media will automatically be censored.

Prof. Maggie Kigozi is the patron of the IAWRT Uganda chapter, she challenged the female journalists to work together and support each other, to build credible networks and determine to look out for female achievers to put their stories in the limelight. Professor Maggie says through mentorship, each one of us is able to build up into becoming a better person without losing out on anything

The Minister in charge of General Duties at the office of the Prime Minister, Mary Karooro Okurut, challenged the female journalists and pioneer gender mainstreaming ambassadors to set a fair precedent, by balancing up stories without bias before publishing them. She says it is more profitable to create working partnerships with sources than making them enemies through bad unrealistic reporting.

Karooro says the theme Re discovers to Re impose is self-challenging, for it demands open mindedness and a truthful and fair self-assessment to help one understand their current career position before leaping to the next level.

She says it is a theme that will help build a sustainable strong force that enables improvements to gender equity in both media organizational structure and content. The minister challenged IAWRT to look out for funding to carry out a survey on the exact position of the Uganda media in terms of gender equity and portrayal.

Professor Nassnga Gorreti, of Makerere University, who is the first full professor of journalism and communication in Uganda. says IAWRT mentorship should be able to improve positive portrayal of women in the media, the number of women in decision making positions within media houses and open up opportunities for career excellence. “The IAWRT mentorship should also be able to create a working relationship with institutions to integrate journalism schools into the agenda of gender mainstreaming through a sustainable approach”. she said.

Caroline Idembe is a human rights lawyer in Uganda, she facilitated a workshop on the need to understand the legal redresses and limitations to be able to re impose as female journalists in the positions that matter. Carol says the UN agenda 2030 which calls for the use of government funds for gender equity and women’s rights cannot be fully monitored without the media being well skilled and equipped with the legal and policy frameworks that obligates the government to meet its part of the bargain.

Therefore, we require continuous in-depth training for the IAWRT mentees.  We want the pioneer team to form a well informed force in the media which can be used as a reference point. 

The intention is ensure that the pioneer ambassadors become trainers of trainers as they become well versed with gender and the law.

So the first orientation workshop was introductory to the gender concept and the legal frameworks for our ambassadors to light the candles where ever they work or operate from.

The Re discover to Re impose Mentorship Project under the championed by IAWRT Uganda is a progressive initiative that  brings together journalists, students, institutions of learning, representatives of like-minded personalities or organizations and policymakers to build a  sustainable pool of gender  media ambassadors.


Media coverage

‘Portrayal of women, girls in media should change’

speaker kadaga commends iawrt for fighting gender inequality in media


Showcasing 50 films directed by Asian women filmmakers

The 15th edition of the IAWRT Asian Women’s Festival was held in partnership with the India International Centre (IIC)-New Delhi from 4 to 7 March, 2019. 

It began with a Round Table on #Me Too, an attempt to take stock of the #Me Too campaign in the Indian media and film industry, examine the challenges posed and plan the road ahead.

Around 50 women journalists, feminists, writers, activists, internet specialists, academics, filmmakers, and spokespersons of UN Women, FES and Oxfam India and Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) attended the riveting four-hour long brainstorming and addressed the nuances posed by this campaign.

Participants had been invited from across India – Assam, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bundelkhand, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kohima, Mumbai, Pune, Shillong, Tejpur, Telengana, Thiruvananthapuram – so the experience shared was truly pan India.

Clearly there was appetite for many such conversations in the coming weeks and months and follow up emails from participants highlighted the unique opportunity to experience solidarity across spaces and learn from each other; as well as how the conversation catalysed new thinking that they would like to build on together through more such opportunities. We hope to be able to strengthen this initiative.

Our first guest at the screening was His Excellency Ambassador of Taiwan. ( Pic Left Mr Chung-Kwang Tien with Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty & Managing Trustee IAWRT India, Nupur Basu) He viewed the film entry from his home country, Taiwan (‘Daisy’ Dir: Yu Yu) and other films in the morning segment. 

Over the next three days the audiences would get to view 51 films from 20 countries – all directed by Asian women directors with the festival theme ‘Female Gaze’.

Apart from general programming, the curated themes for the 15 Edition were: a) Female Gaze by Bina Paul, b) Childhood by Samina Mishra, c) Seven Sisters (narratives from Northeast of India) by Supriya Suri, d) A Country focus on Georgia curated by Smriti Nevatia. e) A special segment on Soundphiles curated by Shikha Jhingan. 

 The festival invited both national and international filmmakers whose films had been selected for the three-day festival. The filmmakers from India who attended were: Asiya Zahoor, (The Stitch), Surbhi Dewan (Daughter of Nepal), Rishaya Palkiwala, (Roshan and Mani), Roopa Barua, (Daughters of the Polo God), Tribeny Rai (Chori), Asawari Jagusthe (The Housemaids). Divya Unny (Her First Time), Yapangnaro Longkumar (The River Story) and Chandita Mukherjee, Archana Kapoor & Afrah Shafiq (Displacement and Resilience).

Four international filmmakers participated in the festival: · Mari Gulbiani (Before Father Gets Back / Georgia), Rusudan Pirveli (Susa / Georgia), Fatima Shahnaz (Hope / Sri Lanka) and Iris Ben Moshe (Broken Pipe / Israel). Screenings were followed by conversations with the filmmakers.

The line up on day one was diverse and featured some award winning films like Peace Carpet (Iran), Mamushka (Israel) and Perhaps Today (Lebanon).

Surbhi Dewan, (Dir: Daughter of Nepal), a young filmmaker from India, engaged in a stimulating post film discussion on the content of disappearance and political identity. Asiya Zahoor (Dir:The Stitch) looked at conflict-ridden Kashmir through the eyes of a nine year old girl. Roshan and Mani, a charming student film about two Parsi sisters directed by Rishaya Palkiwala was followed by ‘Daughters of the Polo God’ from Manipur directed by Roopa Barua.

The highlight after the formal opening ceremony was the opening film – a documentary from Georgia, ‘Before Father Gets Back’, directed by filmmaker Mari Gulbiani. The evocative film explores the lives of two young Muslim girls Imam and Eva, growing up in the rising shadow of Islamic radicalism in the Pankisi valley of Georgia. The film was followed by an interaction between curator of the Georgia segment, Smriti Nevatia and Mari Gulbiani. The engaging discussion with the audience was about the fate of the film’s protagonists, the challenges of shooting the documentary, the gains made by Georgian women filmmakers in world cinema and the politics of representation.

Day two began with Autodriver, a film from the North East and was followed by other films in the segment ‘Encoded’. Filmmakers Tribeny Rai (Dir:Chori) from Sikkim and Fathima Shanaz (Dir:Hope) from Sri Lanka interacted with audiences on the specific content of both their films and their individual experiences in filming them. The much awaited IAWRT long documentary 2019 production ‘Displacement and Resilience’ produced by Chandita Mukherjee was premiered at the festival. the documentary has now won its first award.

The festival received an overwhelming response. The screenings were attended by cinephiles, media students, media professionals, academicians, feminists, researchers, IIC members and representatives from various organizations. The major highlights continued to be the active participation of the audience in post film discussions.

There were lively interactions from the floor about challenges women filmmakers face in their role as directors or producers. Bina Paul talked about the recent challenges and breakthroughs made by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) in Kerala. The WCC had become a rallying point for other women filmmakers in the country. Pic left: director, Roopa Barua (Daughters of the Polo God) in conversation with Jeroo Mulla.

Day three folms were dominated by the narratives on children and the world through their eyes. Ziazan from Turkey was one such film that explored borders as construed by a child in her own circumstances.

Director Divya Unny’s ‘Her First Time’, based on breaking the silence on menstruation was also part of this segment. Divya took part in an engaging post screening conversation with Sania Farooqui on how films can break social taboos. 

Chuskit, an award winning film directed by Priya Ramasubban, about a paraplegic girl in Ladakh whose dream is to go to school one day, was another highlight of the Childhood curation.

The main feture of day three was a unique morning segment, Soundphiles, which has become a kind of a flagship of IAWRT programming of the AFF, sowing the technical and creative aspects of silence and sound. 

The closing film of the festival was the very evocative ‘Susa from Georgia. Director Rusudan Pirveli and curator Smriti zeroed in on the impactful narrative once again around a child protagonist. The children centric films had prompted discussions ranging from casting child actors, to the psychological make-up of child characters to low- budget filmmaking.

Bioscopewaali, the female storyteller, an art installation entitled Bioscopewali was put up by Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty.

This included a life size bioscope titled Indi-e-gaze created with the support of students from Amity School of Communication, Noida and a creative art Installation by design students.

Indi-e-gaze, pictured left, as an installation explored both the ‘act of seeing’ as in the optical toy or later cinema with the new addition of ‘peeping into’ gendered texts.

The bioscope as a symbolic apparatus of a bygone era, took the viewer back to a pre-cinema experience while the content being watched was that of the female storyteller, whom we referred to as The Bioscopewaali.

Little Directors’ workshop An innovative two-day workshop entitled ‘Little Directors’ was a very significant programme at the festival. 


The objective of holding the workshop within the festival ambit was to create a visible change in the domain of gender and identity. Forty girls from under-privileged backgrounds between the age group of 12-14 years were invited to undergo a two-day training on filmmaking. The resource persons for the workshop were IAWRT India members, Nina Sabnani and Samina Mishra. The girl students were given a theme of freedom (Aazadi) around which they had to frame their stories.

They were taken through an interactive session on self-expression, as well as a simple way of story telling by their two guides, and exposed to various images to spark their imagination. Sameer Ashraf, a professional photographer, briefed the girls about the technicalities of camera, which helped them to visualize their content better. The little directors were then asked to imagine freely and create their own short film. A young volunteer supported each group.

The workshop culminated with the screening of around 8-10 short one minute films made by the little directors.

Bioscopewaali, the female storyteller, an art installation entitled Bioscopewali was put up by Festival Director, Gauri Chakraborty.

This included a life size bioscope titled ‘Indi-e-gaze’ created with the support of students from Amity School of Communication, Noida and a creative art Installation by design students.

Indi-e-gaze, pictured left, as an installation explored both the ‘act of seeing’ as in the optical toy or later cinema with the new addition of ‘peeping into’ gendered texts.

The bioscope as a symbolic apparatus of a bygone era, took the viewer back to a pre-cinema experience while the content being watched was that of the female storyteller, whom we referred to as The Bioscopewaali.

The 15th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival would not have been possible without the support of our valued partner of 15 years, the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi. Our other valued principal partners for this edition of the festival were: National Foundation of India (NFI), Oxfam India, Tech Mahindra Foundation, Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Jamia Cooperative Bank Ltd, UN Women and IAWRT International.

Abridged from full report Report written by AFF organisers & submitted by Festival Director, Gauri D Chakraborty (attached below)

The festival was widely covered in the media including: 

CinestaanLinks to all the festival articles that were done by CinestaanSouth Asia MonitorMetal Magazinenewsclickbusiness standardThe WeekThe HindimadhyamamDevdiscourseorissa post  The Free Press journalNamibia Press agencyFree Press Journal