WMC News: the Women’s Media Awards, Yazidi Women, Emma Watson, WMC Live & more!
October 6, 2016
Spotlight on Change Makers at the Women's Media Awards
By Marianne Schnall | October 5, 2016
At this year’s Women’s Media Awards, sisterhood, the importance of women’s voices and influence in the world, and the critical role of media were all in focus. With the backdrop of an election season featuring the historic milestone of our first female presidential nominee—which has exposed the sexism women continue to face in media and in our culture—the stakes were heightened, spotlighting both challenges and opportunities. As event host Sally Field put it in her inspiring opening remarks, “If media is a mirror to the world, we need to make sure it’s reflecting an accurate picture.”
The awards ceremony, which paid tribute to the pioneering work of media trailblazers, also raised crucial funds to support the important work and programs of the Women's Media Center. WMC, which was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem to make women more powerful and visible in the media, provides resources such as its annual WMC Status of Women in the U.S. Media report; WMC SheSource, an online database of women experts; and the WMC Progressive Women’s Voices media and leadership training program. It also showcases a diversity of women’s issues and voices through the nationally syndicated radio program and podcast Women's Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, WMC Features, WMC FBomb, the WMC Speech Project, and WMC Women Under Siege.
While the Women's Media Awards honored media game changers, the honorees in return offered gratitude and acknowledgment for the work of WMC—and to the many other influential change makers present in the room. More>>
Image description: Gloria Steinem and Joy Reid at the Women's Media Awards. Photo by Cindy Ord and Mike Coppola/Getty.
The 2016 Women's Media Awards Photo Feature
Four hundred guests attended the Women’s Media Awards on September 29 at Capitale in New York City.
Two-time Academy Award winning actor Sally Field was the host for the Women’s Media Center event. Gayle King, co-anchor of “CBS This Morning,” and three-time Emmy winner, gave opening remarks.
Honorees were Samantha Bee, host of TBS' “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” — who received the WMC History Making Award for being the first woman to host a late-night show; Salma Hayek Pinault, award-winning actor, director, producer and activist — received the WMC Sisterhood is Global Award speaking out for women and the underserved around the globe, fighting against discrimination and domestic violence; Joy Reid, political analyst for MSNBC; host of “AM Joy”; and author, accepted the WMC Carol Jenkins Visible and Powerful Media Award for her excellence in journalism; Anita Sarkeesian, award-winning creator and executive director of Feminist Frequency received the WMC Digital Media Award for exposing misogyny in video game culture and promoting alternatives; and Regina K. Scully, award-winning producer, executive producer, activist and philanthropist, accepted the WMC Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for her work of over 30 years as a leader in media.
Presenters included WMC co-founders Jane Fonda (via satellite); Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem; WMC President Julie Burton; WMC Board Co-Chair Pat Mitchell and Founding and Former President Carol Jenkins. More>>
Image description: WMC President Julie Burton (far left) on the red carpet with Women's Media Awards Honorees (left to right) Anita Sarkeesian, Salma Hayek Pinault, Regina K. Scully, and Joy Reid. (Photo by Bruce Katz)
Yazidi Women and Girls Resist ISIS in Creative Ways
On September 16, Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi survivor of ISIS captivity, was appointed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. It was the first time the UN had bestowed the title on such a survivor.
On August 3, 2014, ISIS militants captured Murad from her village along with an estimated 5,000 other women and girls from throughout Sinjar. Since her escape, she has become a symbol of strength for the Yazidi community, including other survivors who now live in deplorable circumstances in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
While it is true that Yazidi women have been victimized by ISIS, the media portrayal of Murad and others like her has been disparaging, describing them with dehumanizing labels such as “sex slave” or “rape victims.” Not only is this unhelpful to their recovery, it denies the breadth of their experience and stories. More>>
Image description: Nadia Murad tells her story during a December 2015 UN Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security and trafficking of persons in conflict. (UN Photo/Amanda Voisard)
A Reflection of the 2016 Olympics Through a Disabled Lens
By Corrinne Singer | October 5, 2016
So much of my identity is contingent upon my strength. Before the development of my disability, I filled all of my spare time with sports. I played everything —competitively. My pride was deeply rooted in a rough exterior and an ability to perform physically that set me apart from many of my peers. At the age of thirteen, however, the discovery of stress fractures, joint dysfunctions, and other similar issues completely uprooted me from an identity I had worked so tirelessly create. I am now unable to perform any sort of physical activity beyond the boundaries of physical therapy. My story is just one of approximately one billion of those of us who experience some form of a disability.
As the 2016 summer Olympics progressed, articles regarding sexism in sports — and the Olympic games in pariticular — inundated my social media newsfeeds. But while justified and necessary, this intense media attention on “sexism in the Olympics” also elides conversations about any other oppressive structures at play in these games. Specifically, I have not seen any articles or conversations that adequately interrogate the Olympics through a disability-conscious lens, or fundamentally question the potential implications of our global idolization of these athletes. Ultimately, this lack of comprehensive coverage solidifies a problematic global obsession with physical performance and strength. More>>
Image description: Women playing tennis in wheelchair with caption "What do these games teach us about strength?"
The Problem with Criticizing Emma Watson and Justin Trudeau's Feminism
By Rachael Hanakowski | October 3, 2016
On September 29th, two influential individuals had a very public meeting of the minds: Justin Trudeau, current Prime Minister of Canada, and actor/activist Emma Watson. The two met in Parliament in Ottawa on September 28, 2016, ahead of the One Young World summit, and reportedly discussed their efforts regarding gender equality. But what should have been celebrated as a positive interaction that highlighted the work both of these public, influential figures are doing was interpreted far too cynically by too many — as a ploy for attention rather than a genuine conversation — which adds to an upsetting legacy of the way they have been treated under the spotlight. It also speaks to skepticism to which politicians are often subjected, which undermines their ability to lead with a conscience.
Trudeau has taken many opportunities to stand up for and call out gender inequality. In 2015, he notably elected a 50/50 gender balanced cabinet for the first time in Canadian history. He marched in both Toronto and Vancouver’s Pride Parades and has made his overall respect for people of difference clear — specifically by speaking to Canadians of many different socio, political and economic statuses and becoming a champion for UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality, HeforShe.
Yet Trudeau has faced much criticism and has been toted as being a faux feminist. More>>
Image description: Emma Watson and Justin Trudeau together in Parliament in Ottawa. (Credit: YouTube)
WMC Live #181: Jessica Bennett, Megan White Mukuria. (Original Airdate 10/2/2016)
Guests: Jessica Bennett on surviving sexist workplaces; Megan White Mukuria on menstrual hygiene products for Global South girls. To listen >>
This week WMC SheSource features experts on the release of Donald J. Trump’s tax documents, Colombian voters rejecting the peace deal with FARC, what the Supreme Court has on their docket and how they plan to proceed with just eight justices, the live tweets of Syrian destruction by seven-year-old Bana al-Abed, and the protests by women in Poland after a proposed abortion ban.
Sign up to receive regular emails highlighting women experts to speak on newsworthy issues.
TO SIGN UP TO RECEIVE WMC NEWS EVERY WEEK -- SIGN UP HERE
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the authors alone and do not represent WMC.
WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.
To support women journalists who are changing the conversation, donate to the WMC: