Media Development Center, Journalists Syndicate Open a Gender Unit
Birzeit University’s Media Development Center has opened a gender unit in partnership with the Journalists Syndicate.
The move was announced at a March 16 consultative meeting attended by representatives of the center and the Journalists Syndicate, who discussed a vision for the unit, which will be led by journalist Nahed Abu T'eima.
The center’s director Nibal Thawabteh said that the main objective of the unit is to strengthen the role and participation of women in the media. Syndicate representative Omar Nazzal observed that the percentage of active journalists who are female is 17.1%, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and those members of the syndicate that are female make up about 20% of the group.
Media specialist Kholoud Assaf from the Palestine News and Information Agency WAFA said that female Palestinian journalists represent a reality where women in the labor force are gradually increasing and the problems they encounter are those of the broader society. Journalist Amal Juma’ said that the gender unit will be responsible for compiling a database of female journalists, among other things.
During the meeting, attendees were divided into two groups - those discussing women’s “empowerment” and those discussing the “legal and institutional climate” - in order to develop ideas about what female journalists need or want and apparent strengths and weaknesses.
The findings of the empowerment group were mainly the need to conduct a study on the reality of the media, identify the needs of female media students and experts in West Bank and Gaza Strip, create a database for female journalists, and integrate with feminist media networks.
The legal and institutional climate group called for a legal review of the bylaws of media organizations where female journalists are working, expansion of female enrollment in the Journalists’ Syndicate, assistance in providing job opportunities for female journalists, and the holding of periodic meetings to follow up on the achievements of the unit.