Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
    Press Release No:  UNIS/WOM/474
    Release Date:  3 March 2000
     UNESCO Launches  "March 8: Women Make the News" 
    Operation for International Women's Day

     PARIS, January 31 (UNESCO) — UNESCO  is launching an operation - March 8: Women Make the News - to place the news under the editorial responsibility of women journalists on the occasion of International Women's Day.

     So as to make the 8th of March "a day to remember by seeing to it that women make the news", UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura is launching an appeal to the media today. Here is the full text of the appeal:

     "I call on the media world-wide to ensure that women journalists have editorial charge of the news on International Women's Day, March 8, 2000. If journalists, the media and the organisations that represent them come together to make this initiative a success, then for the first time in history a day's news output in both print and broadcasting, throughout the world, will fall under the editorial responsibility of women.

     "By drawing attention to the glass ceiling that still limits the number of women journalists who rise to key editorial positions in the media, UNESCO is pursuing the commitment made at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 to defend equal professional opportunities for women. I firmly believe that this issue must remain at the forefront of the agenda of each society - and of the international community - until gender balance is achieved at every level in the work place.
     
     "Through this focus on equal opportunities in the media, UNESCO also wants to emphasise another important point: the free flow of independent and pluralistic information is best ensured if all talented journalists have an equal chance of becoming editors and media executives, purely on the basis of their professional ability and without regard to gender, ethnic origin, religion or any other unconnected factor.

     "International Women's Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the situation of women and to seek responses to the obstacles they face. Let us make March 8, 2000 a day to remember by seeing to it that women make the news."

     UNESCO considers it up to each media organisation to determine how it implements the initiative. For media organisations where no woman has ever held a key editorial position, the March 8: Women Make the News operation could mark an important step forward not only for the chosen journalist but for the entire editorial team and for their public. Women who already occupy an executive position in their media organisation could either ensure that they are on duty for that day's news output or that they are replaced by another woman journalist.

     UNESCO invites media organisations to register their participation in the initiative through the newly created Website (www.unesco.org/march8). Reactions and proposals are also welcome and can be posted on the site.

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