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Workshop on Gender and Media

Population First conducted a two day workshop at the Mumbai Press Club, Mumbai on November 1 and 2, 2017. This workshop was supported by UNFPA and was conducted in collaboration with Press Club, Mumbai and “Pratigya Campaign for safe abortion”. The workshop was an in-depth sensitization on gender related issues for media professionals.

It was attended by 37 working journalists and a couple of lecturers teaching mass communication in Solapur University. Journalists from different states all over the country, some from Maharashtra and some from Mumbai city attended.

The focus of the workshop was how to cover issues related to gender in a more informed and nuanced manner. The sessions in the workshop covered a wide range of topics including an experiential initiation into the concepts of Gender, Sex, Patriarchy and several deeply informative sessions on Gender based violence, Sexual harassment at workplace, Prenatal Sex Determination, Sex selection, Safe abortion, Reporting on sex selection and safe abortion as well as Reporting on gender based violence.

The resource persons for the workshop - who are experts and eminent professionals in their fields pertaining to work on gender issues - comprised Ms Kalpana Sharma (Independent journalist and consulting editor with Economic and Political Weekly), Dr A.L. Sharada (Director of Population First), Ms Anuja Gulati (State Program Officer for Maharashtra, United Nations Population Fund), Ms Ujwala Kadrekar (Leading legal advocate against sexual harassment, sex selection and domestic violence), Ms Padma Deosthali (Independent researcher for various gender issues and ex-head, CEHAT), Ms Sameera Khan (Independent journalist, researcher and former Assistant Editor, The Times of India), Mr Anand Pawar (Executive Director, SAMYAK - Pune based NGO) and Dr. Nozer Sheriar (Deputy Secretary General of FOGSI and leading Obstetrician and gynecologist at Breach Candy, Hinduja, Holy Family, Masina and other hospitals in Mumbai) and Dr. Shamala Dhupte from FPAI.

The content of the sessions was not just restricted to presentations and talks but also participatory activities and group discussions. The information based sessions were rounded off on day one by a “Theatre of Relevance” workshop by Mr Manjul Bhardwaj (Actor, director, writer, facilitator and initiator in theatre) and day two ended with a panel discussion presided over by Mr. Dharmendra Jore (Political editor at Mid-day and Secretary of the Mumbai Press Club). The other panelists were Anuja Gulati and Sameera Khan.

The participants were appreciative of the extremely enlightening workshop that, according to them, gave them a new ‘vision’ or lens to view the gender question and made them realize that there are no specific issues called “women’s issues” but rather that every issue could be looked at through a gender lens. They also mentioned with great enthusiasm that they were not only motivated to commit to work more on issues pertaining to gender but that whenever in the future they cover any issue for their respective media outlets there would be small nuances relating to gender that they would now keep in mind and be aware of that would add value to the story. The infrastructural arrangements were also greatly appreciated by the participants - including the conference hall and the catering service provided through Mumbai Press Club.

One very significant and touching feedback was that of the person manning the sound system on the first day of the workshop. He asked one of the Population First members what exactly was being discussed in the workshop and on being briefed about it he declared that “ From today onwards I will not shout at my wife on reaching home as I used to do sometimes after a bad day at work. After all she looks after our house and our eleven month old baby. I can barely contribute anything towards these tasks.”

Some reporters said that after attending the workshop the quality of their writing will be more rights based and they will try to steer away from gender stereotypes.

STORY BY

Mumbai Press Club
Editor
Article posted on 08/11/2017

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