Media Impact Uses the Power of Narrative to Promote Gender Equality

international_day_girlAll over the world, women and girls are victims of inequality as lack of social opportunities, violence and discrimination still rear their ugly heads, due to several cultural and political factors that cause them. For that reason, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution created the International Day of the Girl, which takes place on October 11. The idea is to catalyze global efforts to improve girls’ lives and help them fulfill their fill potential.

PCI-Media Impact, a leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change, welcomes the initiative that throws a spotlight on girls and their issues globally. The organization says that reduced status for girls has meant limited access to education, resources, fewer opportunities for advancement, socially tolerated violence, child marriages, sexual violence as a weapon of war, and much more.

As part of its strategy for girls, PCI-Media Impact includes gender equity storylines and issues in every program it produces. For example, in the Andean Region, where gender-based violence is a major ongoing problem, Media Impact, Swedish agency Diakonia and local partners in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru are working together to mobilize citizen action, strengthen civil society and influence cultural norms to confront this issue. Strong Women-Strong Voices aims to create a long term knowledge-sharing network between these coalitions in the region. Over the course of several workshops, each national coalition wrote and produced 24-episode radio drama and follow-up radio discussion guides designed to empower women and girls, tackle cultural norms surrounding violence against women and girls and promote services that safely protect and aid women and girls.

Elsewhere in Liberia, Media Impact is working to launch a multi-faceted program addressing sexual violence against women and girls. Rape in that country is at epidemic levels: 92% of women and girls have experienced rape, 62% of these are under the age of 12, and many are infants. In the coming years, Media Impact will work closely with in-country partners to shift cultural values in favor of women and girls, and their rights. It is our wish to see every young girl enjoy the psychological, physical and legal freedoms and comforts of basic safety and human rights.

“The issues facing girls are complex and interconnected; they require a multifaceted approach that treats the causes and does not just center on the symptoms,” says Media Impact, which has developed a methodology called My Community. The methodology isn’t bound to a single thematic focus, but allows multiple issues to be addressed within the same program. Media Impact works with a coalition of local leaders to develop their capacity to produce a successful communications-based campaign. The program engages and informs the local community, and encourages crucial behavioral changes by improving knowledge and attitudes surrounding the issues.

Over in the U.S., a petition on Change.org asks President Obama to proclaim national Day of the Girl in the U.S., where gender inequality and discrimination continue to be pervasive and widespread. The petition is organized by School Girls Unite, an organization of students and young women leaders working to advance the U.N. Millennium Development Goals related to gender equality and universal basic education, as well as child marriage prevention and other human rights issues.

Image credit: Day of the Girl

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