Coverage of women issues addressed in workshop

The Samoa Alliance of Media Practitioners for Development has hosted a women in leadership workshop to discuss news coverage of women issues and their link to the findings of a survey. 

The workshop, which was held at the Tauese Seaview Hotel conference room, discussed a report that came out of a survey and concluded that the coverage on women in leadership was limited going as far back as 2016.

Iliili Jordanna Mareko, the WILS Communications Coordinator, said coverage on women in leadership mainly came out from workshops, training and other activities involving women.

"The coverage is only when we have workshops, training or something fancy happening involving women and then we'll be like 'okay, this is important',” she said. 

“It is not a bad thing, we just also need to include that women in leadership is considered as part of our everyday life whether it's at home, church, office or in Parliament depending on issues concerning the rights of women and girls.

"With that being said, there are some stories that we believe women in leadership are rarely being reported or heard of. 

“And with this survey happening, we hope that this will shed some light into what are the gaps we are addressing, and strategies that we hope to come up with in order to fill those gaps and move forward with our work, as well as partnering with the media as you are our important partners."

The discussions then shifted to a survey report that concluded that 32 per cent of online stories focused on the vulnerability of women, 19 per cent on women and gender issues and 12 per cent on the words 'women leaders'.

The workshop was attended by the Journalists Association of Western Samoa (J.A.W.S) Board as well as senior and junior members of Samoa’s media industry. 

The report and survey were compiled by Misa Victoria Lepou, Rudy Bartley and Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson. 

The analysis gave people a clearer overview of how local media organisations report and portray women and their stories. 

Papalii Mele Mauala said the project is called Women Leadership in Samoa and added that it is a joint program between the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and the UN women. 

“It was born from a project that was done in the previous election which was in 2016 called 'Increasing political participation of women'," she said.

The SAMPOD  is supported by the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) Project. It is a three year project jointly implemented by the UNDP and UN Women with funding from the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Samoa, UN Women Pacific, Australian High Commission, Iliili Jordanna Mareko, Alanna Mapu-Oli, and Kaushal Sharma.

The booklet that was distributed on Saturday was only a draft with recommendations made by senior journalists from different media industries.

The key findings of the report states that there is a low coverage of women in sports, stories about women tend to focus on the vulnerability of women and so forth. 

Recommendations were also made by Lagi Keresoma – who is the current President of J.A.W.S. – for the S.A.M.P.O.D together with Mr Bartley and Mrs Misa to speak with the editors on the topics of using gender as a headline. 

"For the next survey I think it's time you bring in our editors and ask them. As we all know at the end of the day, they make the final call on what goes on publishing and what not,” she said.

“For instance, if a woman who works at a police station was taken to court for theft as a servant was found guilty, and we write 'Police officer guilty of theft' and when it gets published we see 'Woman found guilty of theft'. 

“Like I said, it's the editors that have the final say on what goes and what not.”

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