IAWRT Biennial November 2017

International Women Media enhanced CADD

The hard work of the Philippines chapter paid off in spades at IAWRT’s 2017 Biennial 9  to 11 November 2017.


It was held in Quezon City, the largest city in Metro Manila. 

IAWRT-Philippines ensured the conference was a dialogue between local organizations and movements which are women-led or involve substantial female participation, and women in media from all over the world.

Activist visual artist Federico Sulapas Dominguez (also known as BoyD) who is known for work that depicts the struggles of women, farmers, indigenous peoples and other marginalized sectors, povided the Biennial design and perfomed for the delegates. 

The planning committee chaired by the IAWRT Treasurer, Violet Gonda, and international board members, Abeer Saady and Iphigénie Marcoux Fortier worked with the Philippines chapter to finalize the agenda. It includes timely presentations on challenges for Philipino women journalists, women covering wars on terrorism, and women in the media covering disasters as well as the launch of the IAWRT Safety handbook for women journalists. (see full program below) 

pic: Some of our hosts; photographed by Jo Maline Manangum; courtesy of Kodao Productions)

IAWRT President Gunilla Ivarsson says the board felt the Philippines was a very natural choice – “IAWRT-Philippines has done a very good job with restarting and rebuilding the local chapter. It is very active, creative and the members do their work with great credibility and responsibility”.

“One of IAWRT’s most exciting recent activities is happening in the Philippines where the chapter and its head, Jola Diones-Mamangum, is working on the mobile disaster response radio project – also a good reason for conferencing in the Philippines” she said.

The head of IAWRT-Philippines says, “more than three years of rebuilding the chapter is bringing together a committed group of broadcasters whose journalism tries to bring under-reported issues to the fore.”  Jola wants to show the world the situation for the media and women in the Philippines and that will be the theme of  the 3 day conference.

“The Philippines prides itself as Asia’s first republic and as a democracy with a vibrant press and mass media sector.  Beneath the veneer of an inclusive society, however, are festering issues” she says.

“Poor women lead the fight in occupying vacant government housing as well as vast tracts of land in the control of landlords.  In other parts of the country, women ‘contractual’ workers die in factory fires without government attempts to even list down their names.  In disaster-hit areas, women bear the brunt of problems brought about by government inaction on forced relocation, joblessness, sexual and human trafficking and the lack of social services.”

Jola says one of the most urgent issues to highlight is the approach to news by the corporate media. “Struggles by women for social justice meet with vitriolic campaigns in dominant mass media outfits and on social media.  It is a state of affairs that compels Filipino women broadcasters in radio and television to continuously redefine their journalism to better serve marginalized sectors in society, not the least of whom are poor women.”  

“We want to make the biennial event a showcase for the positive work that women in the media can do – as well as to recruit more members in both mainstream and alternative media –  through increasing the chapter’s profile.”

Topics include media and women and social justice; gender-based conflict reportage; women in natural disasters and covering the war on terror internationally along with the difficulties of reporting land based conflict in the Philippines.

Time has been set aside to screen or feature media productions, including this year’s IAWRT documentary – Velvet Revolution.  The IAWRT board has heard comments from members coming to the biennial, that they want to have more time for screenings. IAWRT members who want their work to be shown should send an online link to [email protected]. This is open to members regardless of wether they will attend. Stay tuned to our facebook site as some sessions will be live streamed. (pic: veteran Philippines joirnalist Inday Espina Varona, featured in Velvet Revolution)

An entire day will be dedicated to organizational development. The IAWRT President says the 2017 Biennial will be a bit special, “since we really must make the time to work on our internal development – modernizing the election process, conducting a strategic workshop around the evaluation report through FOKUS, and doing some creative and strategic thinking around fundraising and the Gender Mainstreaming Project.”

The President encourages members to start looking now for local sponsorship to help them attend the biennia ans spread the word about IAWRT. “Funders want something in return – so why not offer to organize a workshop/panel when you come back home -in return for the sponsorship – sharing the insights and the work and projects that we are doing.”

Journalists who are coming to the Philippines to report on the  ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) summit in Manilla, which is expecting the leaders of China, the US, Russia, India, Japan and Australia to attend, have a golden opportunity to to meet and learn about local issues from a Philippines perspective by attending the IAWRT Biennial beforehand. See you there in November! contact [email protected] for more detals.

About our Biennial Design Artist


Federico Sulapas Dominguez is known as BoyD  (boy dee) to friends and the progressive movement in the Philippines. He is a well-known progressive visual artist in the Philippines who was born in the municipality of Maluko, Province of Bukidnon in Mindanao. He is descended from the Tagalogs of Bulacan province in Luzon and Mandaya of Davao Oriental on his father’s side and natives of Surigao Del Norte on his mother’s side. He studied Architecture at the University of Mindanao and Fine Arts (Visual Communication) at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Among his favorite themes are the environment, agriculture, disaster-preparedness and social issues.

A master colorist, he is hailed for infusing indigenous and people’s culture in his paintings, drawings and murals, it is often said a Dominguez art piece could never be mistaken for anyone else’s. BoyD credits his decades of activism in the development of his award-winning and increasingly popular art.

An active member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, BoyD has been featured in solo and group exhibits in the Philippines and abroad. He currently works as a freelance graphic designer, art director, painter and illustrator. He is also a musician who plays the harmonica in concerts and mass mobilizations. BoyD was a recipient of the Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellowship Grant from 2013 to 2014.