SADC Mirror on the Media launched at CSW

SADC Mirror on the Media launched at CSW

Date: March 26, 2018
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By Colleen Lowe Morna

Gender Links (GL), in partnership with the government of Malawi and UN Women launched its innovative online media monitoring tool at a packed event during CSW 62 last week. GL’s “mirror on the media” is the product of years of monitoring – see here -showing that women represent less than one in five voices in the news, and are often portrayed in stereotypical ways. “The lights go on when media leaders see the results of monitoring,” noted GL CEO Colleen Lowe Morna. “We hope that this simple online tool will encourage the media to monitor and reinvent itself.”

Fojo, a media training institute in Sweden, and Free Press Unlimited, a Netherlands-based global freedom of expression organisation, are using the tool for monitoring the media in a wide variety of countries across the globe.  “Free Press Unlimited values Gender Links’ relentless efforts to develop a Gender and Media Monitoring Tool,” noted Anna Gorter, Free Press Unlimited Gender and Media officer. “The tool, once finished, will be an important step towards gender equality in the media. Our north-south co-operation in designing this tool in 2017 has been very much appreciated.”

Speaking at the launch, Malawi Minister of Gender Dr Jean A.N. Kalilani, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare said: “Our message at the CSW is a simple one – space is never given, it is claimed. Women need to appropriate the Internet, the airwaves, the media, to make every voice count, and count that it does!”

Opposition MP Dr. Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula ian academic, feminist, educator and activist., said women In Malawi are treated unfairly by the media: “men can differ, its debate; women differ and its gossip,” she said.”When one woman makes a mistake all women make a mistake!” Women politicians have one message in the lead up to the coming elections – water and sanitation know no political party. “What we need is development,: she said. Presently women constitute a mere 17% of members pf parliament in Malawi.

Speaking from the floor. Zimbabwe Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Manicaland Monica Mutsvangwa said that Grace Mugabe, wife of the former president, can close to destroying all efforts to increase women’s political participation because of her greed. “One rotten apple in the barrel does not mean all apples are bad,” she said. Mutsvangwa led the move from within the party to have Mugabe impeached. He resigned in November 2017 before this happened.

A participant who survived trafficking in South Africa described how she has negotiated a deal with the media to tell her story with sensitivity “because I know this is the best way to get the word out there.” But she frequently has to make the point that she is not a celebrity, and would prefer to be miked  by a woman rather than a man.

Head of UN Women Mutli Country Office for Southern Africa Anne Githugu-Shongwe issued a call to action with UN Women’s Unsterptype Campaign – getting big companies that spend over $500 billion annually on marketing to use this to challenge stereotypes about young women.  She threw out another challenge – to find and track  billions of unspent funds for creating universal access to the Internet. UN Women wants to make sure that at least 50% of these funds go towards ensuring access for women. According to Minister Kalilani, 18% of men have access to the Internet in Malawi compared to 6% women.

For more information on the media monitoring tool contact Tarisai Nyamweda on

2 thoughts on “SADC Mirror on the Media launched at CSW”

Pedro Santa Maria says:

Is this tool being used in the all SADC Region? I am based in Angola and would love to take advantage of its usage with local Social Work students and journalist & other media professionals. Looking forward to hearing your feedback. Pedro Santa Maria HR Activist (Social Worker & Freelancer Journalist)

Tarisai says:

Yes it is available to all. Please contaact to get more information on this tool.

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