fbpx

The Distance Still To Go In Recognising That Women’s Rights Are Human Rights 

The Distance Still To Go In Recognising That Women’s Rights Are Human Rights 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

By Valerie Traore, Founder and Executive Director of Advocacy group, Niyel

DAKAR, Senegal, 8 March, 2021-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.

It makes a mockery of International Women’s Day, which in 1977 the United Nations General Assembly declared an annual event. Human rights are the basic minimum protections which every human being should be able to experience daily. Yet even today throughout Africa – and indeed the rest of the world – not all people are able to enjoy and exercise their rights in the same way. 

Treating women’s rights as human rights and recognizing that women are equal humans with equal ability, has always been fundamental to African women’s movements. As part of our initiatives for International Women’s Day, we are looking at how women have fought to be put on an equal footing.

Women’s rights are human rights and almost nobody today will say they do not believe in human rights. The challenge I lay down to all of us is to change our bias that women’s rights are everyone’s rights. With human rights there is no ‘us’ and them’ – we are all human beings. If you believe in human rights, if you believe in human equality, if you believe that no one should be the property of another, that no one should be subject to violence just because, that everyone should freely make choices about their own bodies and life, then women’s rights should be your fight. If anyone does not believe women’s rights are their fight, then they actually do not believe in human rights.

Niyel is involved in a broad range of advocacy initiatives across the continent. Although not all of them directly address women’s rights, women’s rights are indirectly at the core of everything we do. For instance, access to water and sanitation is one such initiative. Poor sanitation, no separate public toilet facilities for women and girls, and lack of on-tap water are factors which disproportionately affect women who in rural areas still bear the brunt of collecting water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Niyel for the past five years has been closely involved in influencing sanitation policy at government level particularly across West Africa, and that initiative is inclusive of women’s needs and rights, as well as men’s.

This year Niyel is launching an educational book series called ‘Sit with Me’ authored by women of all ages with experience in the struggle for women’s rights and which ‘speak’ to younger women and girls. It depicts their experiences and gives encouragement to continue the struggle. 

As proud as we are of these initiatives, we are conscious that the issue goes deeper than the observation of a day or a month. As we all seek to break the bias in various sectors of our society, our focus must remain on understanding how and why these biases are being enforced as well as who is allowing them to dominate the mainstream media, social and otherwise. 

We tend to underestimate the active and intentional anti-women agenda that is very active on the continent. We may think that it is just cultural norms and context but although some of that is true, there is an organized institutional and growing opposition to women’s rights, bodily autonomy, and sexual and reproductive rights of women in Africa. 

For a few years, we have been studying these oppositions that increase barriers to women’s rights and being intentional about how we tackle them in our work. 

As part of this study, and since, some alarming examples of gross bias against women’s rights have emerged in the media and entertainment industries. The same industries that are supposed to be breaking the bias, are some of the greatest perpetrators of bias. One example, amongst many, is a television show host in Cote d’Ivoire in August 2021 that interviewed a rapist who proceeded to visually dramatise in unnecessarily explicit detail with a manikin doll how he raped women, to the merriment of a live audience and television crew. What was meant to be a denunciation of rape became a defence of it, with no consequences for the television channel other than an enforced apology by the presenter. Following a public outcry, and sustained pressure from women’s organizations in Cote d’Ivoire, the rapist was finally convicted but sentenced only to one year with parole and as such, served no jail time. 

The impact of such shows is to entirely undermine what we’re trying to achieve, which is the change of bias and viewpoints towards women. The show was meant to forward women’s advocacy but actually trivialised rape and women’s rights and endorsed the normalising of abuse through degrading humour. There is an entire process which leads to the production of a television show, and this demonstrates how ingrained the culture of abuse of women is. Not one person in the chain of command saw fit to stop it before it was allowed to air. 

Although there is progress in women’s rights, it sometimes feels like each step forward is met by ten steps back. And the voices that have millions of ears and eyes, have to check their ingrained biases with even greater scrutiny. 

I am not free from biases, and I choose to acknowledge that I have blind spots and check myself. I invite you to do the same and pay attention to how your own biases might be rampant in the media you and your community consume. When you do, check them too.

That is how we do our part in breaking the bias.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Niyel.

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Become our partner

want more info, fill in this form.

Conférence de Presse en Ligne


Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications


Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.

 

Communication​ digitale


Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements


Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique


Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique


Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média


Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu


Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.

DIFFUSION DE COMMUNIQUES​ DE PRESSE​


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion


Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training


We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring


We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations


We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development


We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.

PRESS RELEASE WIRE DISTRIBUTION

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available