9 May 2016

Africa: Network Aims to Promote African Women as 'Gamechangers'

Cape Town — Woman journalists across Africa are being invited to join a network which aims to achieve better coverage of initiatives led by women and children and of the issues that affect them.

The "Women in Media Network" is the brainchild of the civil society trust formed by Graça Machel, the advocate for women’s and children's rights, former Mozambican cabinet minister and leader of United Nations initiatives on development and the effects of armed conflict on children.

Announcing the network on Monday, Mrs Machel said: "We need to give more space in media for women to tell their own stories in their own way and to include the views expressed by the children of Africa.

"I hope that by establishing this network we will motivate other media houses to more equally reflect the ‘Faces and Voices’ of women and children in media."

AllAfrica is one of a number of African media organisations which support the initiative and which serve on an advisory board established by the Graça Machel Trust. The network is the second major initiative on the role of women in the media which AllAfrica has backed this year -  Amadou Mahtar Ba, AllAfrica's co-founder and  executive chair, is a member of the United Nations' first-ever High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment.

Initially 30 to 40 women from countries in East, West, Central and Southern Africa will be invited to join the network. The trust said it had identified women "considered to be media influencers in their own right and enjoy a large social and traditional media footprint and legacy..." as inaugural members.

The network's advisory board is co-chaired by Susan Makore, CEO of AB Communications in Zimbabwe, and Bronwyn Nielsen, Editor-in-Chief of CNBC Africa. Other media groups represented on the board include East Africa's Nation Group, IRIN and Fraternité Matin of Cote d'Ivoire.

“Women and children’s issues have tended to make headlines more as victims that are helpless, abused and exploited," said Ms Makore, "yet women and children have over time been capable of so much more, having overcome many obstacles and excelled in many sectors of the economy and society. Their amazing stories need to find more expression in our media."

The new network is the latest of a number established by the Graça Machel Trust. Others are focussed on building the role of women in African economies and include networks of women in business and agriculture.

Watch Graça Machel on the Women in Media Network

Graça Machel on the other networks established by the trust and on its role in pressing financial institutions to design goods and services which meet the needs of women in African economies.

Read the Graça Machel Trust's press release announcing the Women in Media Network.

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