We cannot build healthy, empowered societies if we neglect to create safe, inclusive media and information environments for women and girls.
Women and girls must fully and equally engage in the creation, sharing, managing and influencing of media, information and communications technologies at all levels, in all industries. Doing so increases the agency of women and girls themselves, but it also improves the quality, breadth and relevance of information for the communities in which they live and work.
The solution lies with women around the world who are working hard to achieve leadership in media and information industries, despite the challenges. At Internews, we are fortunate to have in our community deep relationships with these women; they serve as leaders in their professions and models for their communities. Our community reaches women who live in more than 49 diverse countries -- from South Sudan to Ukraine, from Myanmar to Pakistan and beyond.
Leveraging Internews’ community and our experience in challenging operational environments, our initiative commits to the following strands of work over the next five years:
A Platform for Networked Leadership: We will continuously support the women leaders we work with through an online platform where women will be able to communicate safely, engage with women outside of their communities, access mentorship programs and trainings, apply for fellowship and small grant opportunities, and access a repository of information and resources on issues and stories related to women and girls.
Inclusion Experiments, Brought to Scale: Through small competitive grants we will invest in programs and partners that want to experiment with innovative approaches to inclusion in the media, information and technology industries. Examples include data journalism training for women, programs that target the reduction of hate speech toward women and girls, consulting support to media entrepreneurs and managers to develop new gender policies, or seed funding to technologists who are creating new applications that engage girls in the tech sector.
Local Advocacy and Awareness Raising: We will amplify the voices of women and girls through advocacy support in local communities and will work with local groups to advocate for the inclusion of women and girls in the information industries.
Empowering Women Security Leaders: We will expand and adapt existing digital and physical security programs for the needs of women and girls as well as train and deploy a network of women security leaders globally to better address the unique security challenges of women in media and information.
Learning: Focusing on the needs of women leaders actually working in the media and information industries, our research will explore issues such as barriers to inclusion and advancement, social impact of engaging women in media and information (i.e. content, policy change, employment equality change over time), specific information and capacity needs of women on the ground, as well as the needs.