Women in Somali Media
In addition to the media being a given topic to mark this historic day, it was natural to focus on women at the event, given the important processes that are currently underway in Somalia, where the role of women both in politics and society at large are high on the agenda.
A total of thirty female journalists, media executives and representatives of civil society organisations attended the event, as well as the Somali minister for Women and Human Rights, Zahra Samantar.
British journalist Zoe Flood gave an international perspective on the various issues discussed.
During the panel discussion on working conditions for women journalists in Somalia, it was brought up how they often face obstacles when trying to advance in their careers, resistance from both male and female colleagues, sexual harassment, difficulties to continue working in the industry when they are married and/or had children.
The tone among the panellists was both positive and constructive: they all agreed that women must dare to take up space and require to be treated on equal terms with men, dare to demand career opportunities, and dare to speak up when subjected to sexual harassment.
The panel discussion on the image of women in the Somali media highlighted the need for women to be presented differently: not as victims as is usually the case, but doers and people of success.
Fojo and International Media Support (IMS) are working on these issues within the Sida-funded "Strengthening Somali media: Promoting peace, reconciliation, accountability and citizen participation in democratic processes" programme.