The first forum of African women journalists, “les panafricaines”, was held on 8 March 2017 in Marrakech and resulted in the creation of the Pan African Network of Women. The Mayor of Marrakech, Mr. Mohamed Larbi Belkaid, took part in the closing ceremony, which saw his city once again, establish itself as a place of possibilities.
“I read your editorials, do you write them? This was the question posed by a personality to Ms. Aisha Akalay, Director of the Moroccan weekly “Tel Quel”.
This type of comment,, full of innuendo on the journalistic capabilities of women journalists, is a reality experienced by many African female journalists, 120 of whom, gathered on 8 March, at the Movenpick Hotel in Marrakech for the first forum of women journalists in Africa. The forum was facilitated by Mrs Aicha Akalay who shared her experiences as a woman at the head of media support.
Arriving from 24 of Africa’s French speaking countries, they gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day . Initiated by Radio 2M in collaboration with the Committee Parity and diversity of the 2 M group, “The forum is intended to bring a wind of change”, said Khadija Boujanoui, Chair of the parity Committee of 2M, “A change that embraces the sharing of experiences.”
The low representation of women in the media is a reality experienced similarly in Morocco and Niger. “The media doesn’t seek the expertise of women,” added Ms. Amina Niandou, responsible for communications for the National Assembly of Niger and President of the Association of African Professionals in Communication, (APAC) in Niger.
In Guinea, women in the media are not strangers to being labeled as ‘promiscuous women’, due to the demands of the profession, which sees them returning from work late at night’, explains Mrs Afiwa Mata Ahoudjogbe, President of the Association of Women Journalists of Guinea.
According to Mrs Samira Sitail, Deputy Director of information, magazines and sport at 2M, the strengthening of synergies within the African media needs to be made through training, exchange and sharing, “We like us, but we don’t know us. We need to connect us in a network. Networking also means working on the important issues.. I’m committed to receive sisters in the brotherly countries of the continent, to support and implement their immersion in the media in Morocco,”,she said.
A call for better networking was welcomed by the participants. Indeed, at the end of the 8 workshops, which highlighted the challenges and realities of women journalists, one of the main resolutions of the Charter of Panafricaines was the creation of the Pan African Network of Women Journalists and the sustainability and organization of the forum.
The “Panafricaines” Charter was signed by the 100 participants and recommended the creation of a Charter of equality and non-discrimination throughout the media.
The forum also saw the launch of the “africanwomenexperts.com” website, whose purpose is to create dialogue between women experts in different fields on the continent. The Moroccan version of the site was launched in 2016 and is available at : http://expertes.ma/ .
The Mistress of ceremony of the forum, Fathia Elaouni, Editor in Chief of radio 2 M, shares a short video on the Moroccan World Day; a parody which looks at role reversals and is aimed at young men and men.
See video here