UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November

End rape—an intolerable cost to society

If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. That means a significant weapon of war gone from the arsenal of conflict, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women in public and private spaces, the removal of a violent assertion of power, and a far-reaching shift for our societies. 

Rape isn’t an isolated brief act. It damages flesh and reverberates in memory. It can have life changing, unchosen results—a pregnancy or a transmitted disease. Its long-lasting, devastating effects reach others: family, friends, partners and colleagues. In both conflict and in peace it shapes women’s decisions to move from communities through fear of attack or the stigma for survivors. Women and girls fleeing their homes as refugees also risk unsafe transport and insecure living conditions that can lack locked doors, adequate lighting and proper sanitation facilities. Girls married as children in search of increased security at home or in refugee camps can get caught up in legitimized conditions of rape, with little recourse for those wishing to escape, such as shelter and safe accommodation.

In the vast majority of countries, adolescent girls are most at risk of sexual violence from a current or former husband, partner or boyfriend. As we know from our work on other forms of violence, home is not a safe place for millions of women and girls.

Almost universally, most perpetrators of rape go unreported or unpunished. For women to report in the first place requires a great deal of resilience to re-live the attack, a certain amount of knowledge of where to go, and a degree of confidence in the responsiveness of the services sought – if indeed there are services available to go to.  In many countries, women know that they are overwhelmingly more likely to be blamed than believed when they report sexual assault, and they have to cope with an unwarranted sense of shame. The result of these aspects is a stifling of women’s voices around rape, significant under-reporting and continuing impunity for perpetrators. Research shows that only a small fraction of adolescent girls who experience forced sex seek professional help. And less than 10 per cent of women who did seek help after experiencing violence contacted the police.  

One positive step to increase accountability is to make rape universally illegal. Currently more than half of all countries do not yet have laws that explicitly criminalize marital rape or that are based on the principle of consent. Along with criminalizing rape, we need to get much, much better at putting the victim at the centre of response and holding rapists to account. This means strengthening the capacity of law enforcement officials to investigate these crimes and supporting survivors through the criminal justice process, with access to legal aid, police and justice services as well as health and social services, especially for women who are most marginalized. 

Having more women in police forces and training them adequately is a crucial first step in ensuring that survivors begin to trust again and feel that their complaint is being taken seriously at every stage of what can be a complex process. Progress also requires that we successfully tackle the many institutional and structural barriers, patriarchal systems and negative stereotyping around gender that exist in security, police and judicial institutions, as they do in other institutions. 

Those who use rape as a weapon know just how powerfully it traumatizes and how it suppresses voice and agency.  This is an intolerable cost to society. No further generations must struggle to cope with a legacy of violation.  

We are Generation Equality and we will end rape!

Spanish and French treansaltions in pdf below.  Links to the statement in: ar, es, fr, ru, zh

For the latest updates and more, visit unwomen.org




Iraqi_protests_in_Tahrir_square Photo credit_FPP via WikiMedia Commons

Media and women are being targeted in the midst of a governmet crackdown on mass demonstrations.

Our Iraq Kurdistan chapter reports that the targeting is happeneing as thousands of Iraqis demonstrate against government corruption, failing state services and a lack of job opportunities.

Amidst six weeks of unstable conditions in Iraq, journalists and civilian activists, including women journalists and media workers, are being targeted and are more are at risk from the danger of ongoing violence.

We, the Iraq-Kurdistan chapter of IAWRT, want to let the whole world know that with the demonstrations in Iraq at a very dangerous stage, a day does not pass without youth, young women, activists and media being targeted by government security forces and alligned militias.

The BBC and other outlest have reported on attacks on media and various shutdowns of the internet to combat the protests.   

Victims from October 2019 to now, number about 320 dead and more than 11,000 wounded. People who have been victimized include countless journalists, media workers, writers and activists, including women media professionals.

One very alarming incident is the killing of civil activist and cartoonist Hussein Adel Madani and his wife Zahra. In the southern city of Basra, unknown assailants stormed the house early in the morning on October 3rd, shot and killed the couple in front of their 2-year-old daughter. The well-known activists had been taking part in protests in the city the day before their killing.

In addition to the dire situation in Iraq, journalists in Kurdistan are also subjected to violations of their rights. One of our colleagues and IAWRT member Niyaz Abdulla, 38, was arrested and tried for an article published on Draw Media, of which she is a member. She is not the author of the article and also not the editor of the group. She was released on a bail bond of five million dinars and was prosecuted under the Electronic Device Abuse Act, rather than being prosecuted under the Kurdistan Region Press Law.

We live in a country considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists Global Impunity Index 2019 ranked Iraq as 3rd worst country for prosecuting murders of journalists. There are 35 unsolved cases of journalist killings in Iraq over the last 10 years. 

The Iraq-Kurdistan chapter of IAWRT asks journalists and media workers in the world to support the call for journalists and people’s rights to be upheld amid continuing anti-government protests and the violent crackdown on these protests.

picture: Iraqi protests from Tahrir square in 25 October 2019 Photo credit: FPP via WikiMedia Commons

Indonesia confab 3

Fifteen countries were represented by women journalists and media educators.

By Lynda Garcia

Countless women still experience fear and are threatened when exercising their rights to freedom of expression on the internet despite the United Nations recognition that such rights are the same online as in real life.

Female journalists, for example, have many negative experiences with online expression and this is one of the reasons for the Workshop on Teaching Gender in Journalism and Media Studies was organised in Indonesia.

Four IAWRT members were invited to participate in the 3 day long workshop in Jakarta on teaching gender in journalism and media studies, held at Depok, Indonesia, in the Margo Hotel October 28-29.

The opening remarks were delivered by Nina Armando, Chair of the Communication Department, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia,  Elisabeth Eide of Journalism and Media International Center (JMIC) of Oslo Metropolitan University, and Arie Setiabudi Soesilo, Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Indonesia.

Three topics were covered on the first day. These were gender-based media research: How to move forward and work together and, the Impact of Social Media on Gender and Journalism.

IAWRT President Violet Gonda presented on the proposed IAWRT Transnational Project on Protecting Women Working in the Media from Online Harassment and Cyber-violence: Research Implementation.

She noted that the risk of exposure to sexualized and/or gendered online abuse has been noted to be greater amongst women working in journalism and media.

Gonda used the Zimbabwe situation as a case study, where she recently returned after living in exile for almost 20 years. Her presentation looked at the impact of social media on gender and journalism. She argued that technology has created a new space for increased violence against women journalists and women in politics.

She reported that IAWRT, with its unique network of women working in the media, is planning to launch a transnational project plus handbook on protecting women working in the media from online harassment and cyber violence. This project will have two phases, research and implementation with industry wide recommendations.

IAWRT Vice President Abeer Saady’s presentation was on the Influence of Women Journalists’ Gender on Safety Decision in ISIS controlled regions.

This is part of her PhD research work, which is a cross border study conducted with journalists covering conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

This is a comparative research from the three Middle Eastern countries to investigate how gender influence the safety decision-making process of women journalists covering the conflict in regions controlled by Jihadi groups operating in Islamic State (ISIS) regions in the three countries.

On the same day, a Global Mass Monitoring Project (GMMP) orientation was conducted by renowned academic Karen Ross, where she invited the participants to the 2020 GMMP.

On October 29, the IAWRT representatives Violet Gonda, Abeer Saady, Najiba Ayubi and Lynda Catindig-Garcia also presented a session profiling various IAWRT projects around the world. The projects discussed included the Disaster Community Radio project in the Philippines, Asian Women’s Film Festival, Gender Mainstreaming Project, Safety training for women journalists in conflict areas, and Long Documentary series among others.

In the afternoon, sessions three and four were held around the issues of Diversity, Marginalization and Intersections, which was chaired by Karen Ross. Saady presented her study on Measuring the Impact of Training Local Trainers on Safety Manuals for Women. She presented the results of a model issuing safety manual for women journalists and training local trainers on safety offline and online using the manual.

Session 4 was titled How to integrate Gender Perspectives in Journalistic and Academic Settings, which  was chaired by Indah S. Pratidina. Lynda Catindig-Garcia spoke about the Philippine Experience in Mainstreaming Gender in the Higher Education institutions.

She informed the audience about the standpoint of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Philippines on gender education. It focuses on the gender-inclusivity in the higher education institutions’ curricula, examines to what extent the discourse on gender equality and sensitivity is integrated in the curricula and syllabi of media and communication programs and, analyses how gender is viewed by communication/media educators.

Najiba Ayubi talked about Teaching gender and media in Afghanistan. Najiba’s presentation included the Gender-based media research: How to move forward and work together.

The results of the survey conducted by DHSA/TKG with the support of UNESCO Afghanistan and SWAN on Gender Balance in Afghanistan Media included an overview on the overall situation of women journalists, including challenges and barriers that Afghan women journalists encountered with in their routine work due to ongoing conflict and the cultural taboos.

Dina Listiorini discussed the topic Making Module Integrating Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Health and Rights for Communication Subjects in the University.

She created modules on the subjects of Mass Communication, Media, Gender and Sexuality and Health Communication. The making of these modules were part of the cooperation between Atma Jaya University Yogyakarta University and the Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan and the Ford Foundation.

Karen Ross talked about The AGEMI project and Birgitte Kjos Fonn spoke on Gender perspectives in teaching economic journalism. Ross shared that the EU-funded AGEMI project was developed over a 30-month period (February 2018-July 2019). The principal aim of the project which was to support and promote gender equality in media industries. The primary vehicle through which to deliver the project’s aims is the project’s web platform. The moving image resources (mini-lectures and expert interviews) are also uploaded to the project’s You Tube channel – AGEMI project. 

Birgitte Kjos Fonn shared that when teaching economic journalism, Norwegian J-Schools tend to stick to the orthodox, mainstream variant, a variant that is based on a number of assumptions that may both lead to power imbalances and enhance them, such as the idea that we are all atomic individuals in the market with equally distributed power. There is also the prevailing view that journalism should be detached, value free and ‘objective,’ while alternative perspectives – on all aspects of society – regularly run the danger of being regarded and dismissed as ‘political.’ The presenter argued that for the sake of the public, there is nevertheless a need for journalism education to include these emerging schools of thought in the teaching of economic journalism.

On the last day of the three-day event, the participants trooped to Universitas Indonesia for the UNESCO World Report Presentation, Setting the Gender for Communication Policy and Gender, Media and ICTs Agenda by Ming Kuok Lim.

It was followed with the launch of the book Transnational Othering-Global Diversities, Media Extremism and Free Expression, published by Nordicom. Ade Armando, Andina Dwifatma, Lestari Nurhajati and Abeer Saady are contributors, while Elizabeth Eide is a contributor and the editor of the anthology.

Conference partners:

  • Department of Journalism and Media Studies/Journalism and Media International Center (JMIC) at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
  • International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT)
  • Department of Communication, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Universitas Indonesia
  • Communication Research Center, Institute of Social and Political Research and Development (LPPSP FISIP) Universitas Indonesia
  • Gender and Sexuality Research Center, Institute of Social and Political Research and Development (LPPSP FISIP) Universitas Indonesia



IAWRT has officially launched our new international office

The launch in Quezon city in the Philippineswas part of a forum entitled Women Journalists Fight Back.

The event opening included comments from the Hon Quentin Biehler, Political Counsellor for the French Embassy in the Philippines who affirmed his country’s support for media freedom. The main forum presentation was about online harassment of women around the word.

The organisation has been operating a ‘virtual secretariat’ for the past five years, it has achieved a lot, but in order to increase efficiency and improve communications, it will now be based in the Philippines where one of our more active chapters is located.

The forum included a session on online harassment of women journalists, with the panellists, Inday Espina-Varona, columnist and former chair of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Ronalyn Olea, a journalist from Bulatlat.com, Philippines  Nonee Walsh, IAWRT web journalist, based in Australia. and Violet Gonda, President of IAWRT

Each of them shared stories about the varying forms of online harassment or violence against media women which prompted a lively discussion on strategies to combat this increasing problem.

The session was chaired by Lynda Garcia the newly elected President of the IAWRT Philippines chapter and a teacher and researcher in journalism over the past four decades.

She facilitated a highly engaged discussion on safety issues and potential improvements to journalism education.

Jola Diones-Mamangun, IAWRT international’s finance officer presided over the official opening of the IAWRT international secretariat office.

The office was blessed by Fr Oliver Castor CSSSr and the ribbon cut with the Deputy Head of mission from the British Embassy in Manila, Alastair Totty. He told the launch dinner that British government valued he work of IAWRT and the support it is able to give to women working in important but difficult media jobs.  

The successful forum and opening event were very much thanks to the hard work of Jola, Lady Ann Salem International communications officer, Sanaf Marcelo, the finance officer, Janess Ellao the membership officer and all the great team of committed volunteers.

Media coverage:

Women journalists demand stop to online harassment


qudsia mahmood

Qudsia Mahtab Mehmood

Islamabad, Pakistan

Development Journalist

What type of projects do you do?

I produce radio and television programs that tackle gender-based violence, and pressing issues affecting children and other marginalized groups. I also provide gender-sensitivity training for students and journalists. I have also designed and developed communication strategies for national-level government and donor-funded projects. Recently I have worked on educating communities about pro-women laws.

Why did this sort work interest you, and how did you get started?

Working with media has always been my passion. This pushed me to maximize its powers in amplifying the voices of women, children and marginalized groups, providing me with a sense of satisfaction that my work contributes towards genuine development for the people.

What part of this job do you like and find most satisfying?

I believe that solutions to the problems confronting communities can rise among their ranks. We work hard to ensure that it is people’s voice – their stories and narratives – that is aired. This includes traveling to communities near and far to get the stories straight from them, making our work even more meaningful.

What do you not like or find most challenging about working in this industry?

Development journalism is yet to be recognized in Pakistan. Such a branch of journalism entails investigative reporting that tackles real issues affecting the people. The challenge, however, is to sell these reports.

My strongest assets/skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values are….

I am truly blessed to have worked the way I wanted to, secure all the required trainings, and hone skills to get the work done. One of my strongest assets is courage and a deep understanding of issues rooted in our culture. I am an independent traveler and have worked in the most fragile environments in Pakistan.

Has IAWRT’s network of media women around the world helped or inspired you?

Whenever I face challenges, it comforts me that there are women in media around the world who are working in more sensitive places, under more dire circumstances, and facing all kinds of threats. As such, I know that not only can I relate to other women media but also get support from the group.

What are your long-term goals?

I don’t make long-term goals. I would rather focus on my efforts in making more aware and empowered communities.

What special advice do you have for other women seeking this type of work?

I have witnessed girls graduating with a degree in mass communication but are not pursuing it as a career. I encourage them to come forward and explore this field of work. There is a lot of work waiting to be done to make this society truly gender sensitive. We need more empowered voices in the media.

Do you have any special words of warning, or encouragement, based on your experience?

Learning is both key and a life-long process. Our contribution may not change the society at once. But at the end of it, every contribution counts.

Links to some of Qudsia’s work online:

Agent of Change

Cholistan Pakistan-Where water is life and no water,no life.

Trafficking of Women, Heart Breaking Reality

Roshni Ki Awaz

Transgender Community

My Childhood 

Personal website/profiles online


IAWRT impunity Nov 2 01

IAWRT condemns all attacks on journalists and media workers

IAWRT joins the annual observance of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on November 2.

At least 324 journalists were murdered worldwide in the past decade and no perpetrators have been convicted in 85% of these cases – according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Global Impunity Index 2019 ‘Getting Away With Murder’. The CPJ says 10 out of the 19 journalists killed in 2019 alone were murder cases. In 2019 alone, 19 journalists have been killed, with 10 of them murdered.

Forty-five women journalists (out of 1,357 killed) were killed since 2009 and 27 of these cases remain unsolved. 

In the CPJ index, four countries where IAWRT has country chapters rank in the top 14. Iraq ranked 3rd with 35 unsolved cases of journalist killings in a 10-year period. The Philippines ranked 5th with 40 unsolved cases, Afghanistan ranked 6th with 11 unsolved cases and India ranked 14 with 18 unsolved cases.

“IAWRT urges governments to bring perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers to justice, to curb impunity in their countries and to ensure that journalists can work freely and independently,” says Violet Gonda, President of IAWRT.

“Journalists continue to be killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public, preventing effective education.”

“Societies suffer when journalists are attacked”

“Killings of journalists silence voices and impair the public’s need for information. The lack of justice served for these killings emboldens killers. Impunity leads to more killings. Killings daunt reporting and the search for truth. We must always call out and stand against killings of journalists and the culture of impunity that besiege countries around the globe.”

Gonda added: “IAWRT urges governments to bring perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers to justice, to curb impunity in their countries and to ensure that journalists, including women journalists, can work freely and independently.”

IAWRT remembers and pays tribute to women journalists killed on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

  • Viktoria Marinova, a Bulgarian journalist, was raped, bashed, and suffocated and her body was found on October 6, 2018. She was looking into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians and prompted speculation that she may have been targeted as ‘a warning’;
  • Lyra McKee, a North Irish freelance journalist shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland on April 18, 2019 while covering clashes in Creggan, a suburb of Londonderry (Derry). The ‘New IRA’, a dissident republican group, has admitted responsibility for her murder;
  • Norma Sarabia Garduza, killed on June 11, 2019, just two months after she reported on a series of violent crimes in Huimanguillo, Mexico and five years after she reported to police that she had received threats from local police officers after she covered alleged involvement of police in kidnappings.
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a car bomb attack on Oct 16, 2017 for exposing corruption in Malta;
  • Gauri Lankesh, shot dead in India on September 25, 2017 for criticizing the woman’s place in the caste system;
  • Miroslava Breach, killed on March 23, 2017, an anti-corruption and human rights reporter for the Norte de Ciudad Juárez and La Jornada newspapers in Mexico;
  • Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist who was sexually assaulted and killed while working on a submarine story in August 2017;

Many other women journalists also face legal persecution and other forms of harassments for their work.

The IAWRT Iraq-Kurdistan chapter has also appealed for support as the situation in their country has reached a very dangerous stage

The chapter head Awaz Salim says “a day does not pass without militias targeting young women, activists and media workers.”

Journalists in Kurdistan are also having their rights violated. An IAWRT Iraq-Kurdistan member was put on trial for the ‘misuse of electronic devices’ over a Facebook post.

In the Philippines, journalist Anne Krueger was unlawfully arrested with 56 others in simultaneous raids on various offices in Bacolod City in the Negros island in the central Philippines on October 31st. A live video broadcast on Facebook by Krueger minutes before her arrest reportedly exposes ‘evidence being planted’ by the authorities who conducted the raid. The Philippines military publicly named her as a ‘communist leader in a propaganda work’.

Women have been drawn to the frontline of the attacks.

The Reporters San Frontières Press Freedom Awards in 2019 went to three women journalists, which is an indication of women increasingly risking their lives and security in the name of media freedom.

Women journalists continue to struggle to keep women voices and stories published, aired and broadcast up to this day.
Killings of journalists silence voices and impair the public’s need for information. The lack of justice served for these killings emboldens killers. Impunity leads to more killings. Killings chill reporting and the search for truth. We must always call out and stand against killings of journalists and the culture of impunity that besiege countries around the globe.