Coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25th, Women Against Violence organization, the I’lam Media Center and the Association for Civil Rights organized a special seminar. The seminar reviewed the status and position of Arab women in Israel while focusing on the issues: corona crisis, violence, and media.
The seminar took place at the I’lam Media Center in Nazareth. The moderator, Saja al-Kilani, emphasized the importance of the matter and explained that the recent data indicates a sharp increase in the number of female victims who got discriminated against, physically, verbally, economically, politically, and socially. It is crucial to understand the different aspects of the violence that women suffer in order to help eradicate it. She also spoke about the importance of building an advanced strategic plan for the prevention of violence against women in the absence of government officials.
Kilani claimed that the media has a very important role in combating violence issues. Furthermore, she stated that the cooperation between Women Against Violence, the I’lam Media Center and the Association of Civil Rights must be an example for an integrated cooperative action plan, especially at these times when the media is the first educator and nurturer of awareness.
The need for confronting violence against women at all levels
Naela Awad, Director of the Association of Women Against Violence, spoke at the symposium. She reviewed significant data related to violence against women this year, especially during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. She stated that there is a positive connection between the media and fighting violence against women since media terminology plays a key role in building self-awareness of individuals, especially young people.
She emphasized the need to work on confronting the issue at all levels: governmental, public and in the media. She explained that the media is an effective platform to build the discourse against violence, discrimination, and exclusion of women. The media is also a necessary platform to criticize the stereotypical roles of women and confront patriarchal behaviors of other institutions as feminist institutions have always endeavored.
Physical violence against women increased this year, especially economic violence.
Samah Bosoul, the media coordinator for the Association for Civil Rights, argued that the spread of the Coronavirus revealed a lot of negligence and discrimination against women. Many of the emergency laws passed this year affected women first, specifically Arab women.
Bosoul provided examples of the emergency laws and their damage to working women, as they were the most prominent victims of "unpaid holidays" and dismissal from the workplace. This also affected pregnant women and women undergoing fertility treatments.
She explained that physical violence against women increased this year, but rather the economic violence against them recorded a qualitative leap that widens wage gaps more. The recruitment of possible frameworks and cooperation with the media is required to tackle this issue.
The guideline will be the basis for conversations with fellow journalists for the coming year.
Kholod Masalha – Journalist and Director of the I’lam Media Center, introduced data regarding the ways in which the local Arab media covers the subject of violence against women. She also introduced a special project that began a year ago with the purpose of uniting female journalists in the fight against violence. The project resulted in the creation of a guideline for gender-sensitive journalism.
She explained the purpose of developing gender-sensitive journalism, which is an international concept, and its implications on the profession.
She referred to specific examples from the guideline, which was created in partnership with Women Against Violence. This guideline will be the basis for the conversations with fellow journalists for the next year.