The southern African media watchdog, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) on Friday announced its first annual MISA’s Women to Watch, as part of commemoration to mark International Women’s Day, which is celebrated around the world on 8 March each year.
MISA has honored 12 dynamic and inspirational southern African women who it says embody both the official United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2014 – Equality for women is progress for all – as well as the theme designated by non-governmental organizations around the world – Inspiring Change.
Among the twelve are three Malawi female journalists, Chikondi Mphande who works for the privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Jean Chalungama who works for the privately-owned Ufulu Radio and Nellie Nyirenda who works for the state-owned Malawi News Agency.
The three have been honored for their various contributions to the local media industry.
MISA Regional Director, Ms Zoe Titus said in a statement that, “We chose women who we see as rising stars in the region, women whose achievements to date are a promise of more great work to come, making them women to watch. From a beauty queen-turned-UN communications specialist; to an art photographer challenging mainstream ideals of beauty; to a human rights lawyer fighting for freedom of expression”.
The official UN theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Equality for women is progress for all,” and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, highlighted the significance of this theme in his annual International Women’s Day message saying:
“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.”
But Titus said, “I would add to this that countries with more women in the media have a better chance of reflecting the voices of all members of their populations, of achieving greater participation of women and of providing fair and balanced reporting on women’s issues and rights”.