International Meeting of Women in Media Marks Launch of Equality Now in London

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Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Charles Wheeler Help Honour Rana Husseini, Jordanian Journalist Who Broke the Silence on "Honour" Killings

10 January 2005
Lakshmi Anantnarayan, 212-586-0906,

10 January 2005 – To commemorate its launch in the UK, international women’s rights organisation Equality Now will convene a meeting in London on 15 January 2005 of prominent women in media from eleven countries: Algeria, Guatemala, India, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Palestine, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom will join Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem and human rights activists from around the world to discuss the role of the media in bringing to light issues of urgent concern to women. On the evening of 14 January 2005 Equality Now will celebrate the opening of its office in London with a reception featuring guest speakers Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. Distinguished journalist and broadcaster Charles Wheeler will introduce the Guest of Honour, Rana Husseini, an award-winning Jordanian journalist, who first broke the silence on so-called crimes of “honour.”

Since its inception in 1992, Equality Now has considered the media an integral part of its advocacy strategy. The organisation was one of the first to target the media to raise awareness and bring visibility to often under-reported human rights violations against women such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and “honour” killings. Among Equality Now’s current campaigns is advocacy for the passage of a law against FGM in Mali, and enforcement of the law against FGM in Tanzania. Earlier this year the organisation launched a campaign calling for the repeal of sex-discriminatory laws around the world to be highlighted in March at the tenth anniversary of the 1995 Beijing world conference on women.

The upcoming meeting will give journalists an opportunity to discuss the challenges that women working in the media face in reporting on violence and discrimination against women, as well as the representation of women in the media. The meeting will also be a forum for the development of strategies to increase and enhance coverage on the human rights of women. Describing the need for a meeting of women in media, Jacqui Hunt, Director of Equality Now’s London office, notes, “The media plays a crucial role in breaking the silence around women’s rights violations. We hope this meeting will give journalists and activists both a better sense of how the media can be effectively mobilised to help end violence and discrimination against women.”

Joining Equality Now’s offices in New York and Nairobi, the London office will establish an organisational presence in Europe and will coordinate international research and campaign strategy. Equality Now’s Women’s Action Network is comprised of more than 25,000 members in 160 countries, including many European countries. Issues of urgent concern to Equality Now include rape, domestic violence, reproductive rights, trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, and equal access to economic opportunity and political participation.

January 10, 2005 - 12:45