Women of the World

Published: 10 March 2014

Region: Worldwide

Dates: 5-9 March 2014


WOW is for Women, for Women of the World. Women all around the world celebrated 8th of March, the International Women’s Day. As a part of the celebration in London, there was “WOW – Women of the World festival”, held in Southbank Centre.

Many times during debates and panel discussions at WOW, the role of media has been highlighted as an important factor influencing the image of the modern women and their self-reflection regarding their professional and personal perspectives.

“Less than 5% of our sports coverage belongs to women”, said the paralympian athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, highlighting the significance of media and adding that fair media coverage, beyond other things, also helps female athletes to get more sponsorship.

Jude Kelly, WoW festival director, has also mentioned that the media have developed a discourse around the issue of women being able to have it all which actually presents them as greedy and not just trying to get the best out of their lives.

Among the panels that brought the issue of media were “Women in Tech” and “Does Page 3 Makes the World Better?” Cheryl Bart, board member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) talking about the women’s position in media referred to the positive example of ABC which has slightly more females to males to the ratio of the news organization. Head of news, radio and innovation of the channel are all women as well as four out of nine board members.

Other speaker of the panel has also talked about the efforts taking place in order to enhance girls’ participation in trainings on technology, such as Open Data Access, which are directly combined with the new skills required from young journalists. Referring to the lack of women in specific fields, media also play a role as very rarely women CEOs or tech-girls are featured in any kind of mainstream media content. “It is not enough to have stories about women who are arm handy or women who are victims or who are mummies. It is very important to show strong women doing things they can be proud of and being role models”, said Eleanor Mills, chair of Women in Journalism and Editorial Director of the Sunday Times.

Festival has also dedicated a panel to the female journalists who risked their lives in order to raise their voices and tell the stories of the most challenging places in the world.

Before the beginning of the discussion, Lorraine Jordan sang “Anna’s Song” written in honour of journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was reporting on Russia and has been killed in 2006 under unidentified circumstances.