Miami (March 8, 2021) .- The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Jorge Canahuati, highlights the contributions of women journalists, condemns violence, and calls for undertaking comprehensive actions for "respecting women's rights in all areas".
Statement by Jorge Canahuati
IAPA President, Grupo Opsa, Honduras
International Women's Day
· In the context of International Women's Day, we recognize the contributions made by women journalists across the Americas. At the same time, we express our concern over the fact that many of them face adverse conditions in their professional endeavors - which, at times, jeopardize their dignity and their right to integral health and life.
· We condemn the cases of women journalists who are victims of violence for exercising their right to free speech, and of those who suffer attacks based on stereotypes and gender roles, or are subjected to cyber harassment. According to Unesco data, in 2020 seven out of ten women journalists experienced online violence. Therefore, urgent action is needed to reduce the structural and cultural inequalities that impact women communicators, as well as to continue reducing gender gaps.
· We call on all nations, the journalistic community, and the media throughout the continent to participate and act within the scope of the current debate, which is opening a new agenda aimed at respecting women's rights in all areas - while, to date, expressions reflecting inequality and violence are still being combated. We urge the nations of the region to revise laws and strengthen public policies that promote, on an equal footing, the participation of women in all aspects of society.
· Although progress has been made in women's participation in newsrooms and executive leadership positions, efforts to promote diversity in editorial, executive and managerial areas must be further advanced. Newspaper companies should end all types of gender distinctions in terms of benefits and rights, improve protocols against sexual harassment in the workplace, and ensure a harassment-free environment. They should also guarantee the safety of women journalists through self-protection manuals and specialized training.
· Initiatives to apply a gender perspective to content are also valuable. We encourage following the lead of those media outlets that have appointed women editors with special focus on gender equity and violence against women. Also, of those that have implemented programs to achieve equity in various work areas, guidelines for non-sexist language and the suppression of stereotypes. The media should play a positive role in ending prejudices and biased attitudes towards women in society, and in promoting their right to a life free of violence and discrimination.
· We are confident that the end of discrimination against women - particularly women journalists - will be achieved when we become fully aware of the set of challenges whose comprehensive attention has been put off for too long. Only then will the journalistic community and the media be able to continue to carry out their essential mission: to contribute to the common good of the communities we serve.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.