The Syrian Female Journalists Network focuses on empowering Syrian media institutions by promoting greater sensitivity and understanding of gender at two levels: structure and knowledge production. As an essential step towards media that are balanced, professional, and concerned with gender and feminism issues.
Within the framework of the Gender Radar Program, SFJN monitors content of number of emerging Syrian media organizations, and produces gender analysis studies, conducts fieldwork visits and training workshops, and provides consultations to develop critical thinking within the media outlets and the working team, as well as recommendations for the development of editorial policy in a participatory manner.
Gender Radar provides partner organizations with unprecedented quality and knowledge, in the Syrian context, on gender issues and critical discourse analysis, and helps create a gender-aware environment by making unobserved issues more visible in media coverage.
The project aims at empowering emerging Syrian media and supporting it in its efforts to develop gender discourse.
The project divided into three levels:
- Making visible the gender inequality and prejudiced portrayals of women and marginalized groups in the media, by critical gender discourse analysis.
- Creating a gender-sensitive work environment that fosters critical thinking in the content creation, production, and evaluation processes, through building journalistic capacities and skills that are gender-sensitive.
- Developing a gender-sensitive editorial policy as a reference point for partner media institutions.
The opinions of male experts dominate a large proportion of media coverage, either as a source of news, analysis, or commentary on news developments. In 2018, the association began working on the first secure open-source database, that has come to include 100 female Syrian experts in its first year, and is active in various fields and disciplines.
Qalat “She Says” aims are:
- To promote and support the representation of more women’s and feminist voices in media coverage, in all its forms.
- Bridging the gender gap, and stereotyping of women in media coverage, by providing an easy-to-use electronic reference platform.
- Promoting the skills and expertise of Syrian women in Syrian and international media, and breaking the masculine/male monopoly over sources of information and analysis in the media.
- Contributing to raising a feminist narrative, granting women’ voices the space to write about themselves.
Qalat will officially launch in 2019
Since 2013, SFJN has proposed and implemented 30 training workshops, training female and male trainers in Syria (Idlib, Qamishli, al-Hasakah, Amuda), as well as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and online. Participants included Syrian media and civil society organizations, women’s groups active in the public sphere, and groups of young women interested in learning journalistic skills and writing from a gender perspective. The training focused on the principles of gender mainstreaming in journalism, coverage of sexual violence, women and peace, and safety, digital security, feminist narratives, the basics of personal writing and blogging, as well as advanced media training in discourse analysis from a gender perspective.
Through our capacity building program, SFJN has managed to reach over 200 women and men interested in the issues around which we conduct our awareness-raising and training.
The safety and protection project focuses on providing mechanisms and alternatives to work in a safe, non-violent, and gender-based environment, especially for women journalists, both during their frontline and field work or within institutions.
Safety and Protection Project :
- Knowledge Provision. Within the network of Syrian safety coordinators, the association has developed the Safety Manual for Media Workers in Syria.
- Capacity Building in field safety, and digital and data security, through a series of training courses in collaboration with organizations specializing in the subject, in addition to providing practical exercises on “self defense techniques for female journalists and human rights defenders” to build their capacity for self-protection from harassment or physical risk while performing their work.
- Emergency Financial Support. As of early 2019, the association has allocated a modest budget to support Syrian female journalists who are subjected to direct threats. SFJN also assumes responsibility for communication and sustained support in case it is needed, in cooperation with international media organizations, and women’s organizations supporting female journalists and human rights activists in conflict zones, and provide emergency support.
- Developing specific policies for preventing protecting against harassment and exploitation in the workplace, extortion and virtual violence, and gender discrimination.
Since 2014, the association has been working with emerging Syrian civil society and media organizations to launch three annual campaigns to raise human rights awareness, and change stereotypes and views on gender equality and justice, to reach a just Syrian society for all female and male citizens.
To date, the association has launched 15 campaigns during the following global days: International Women’sDay, World Press Freedom Day, and a 16-day campaign about Violence Against Women. These campaigns include written and audio content: more than 60 articles and interviews regarding issues undercovered by media, such as female detainees and victims of kidnapping in Syria, cyberbullying and online violence against women and human rights defenders, as well as violations targeting Syrian women in countries of asylum.
The campaign was contributed to by a group of female and male journalists in the network. The advocacy campaigns included organizing several events in Lebanon and Turkey, in partnership with civil society organizations such as Dawlaty, Women Now for Development, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, the Syrian League for Citizenship, and Start Point.
As well as ongoing collaboration and partnerships with local and regional campaigns such as the Save the Rest, Planet Syria, and the #SheDefends campaign launched by the Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa.
SFJN’s Advocacy Objectives:
- Advocating human rights and humanitarian issues from a feminist perspective.
- Strengthening and supporting local partnerships with Syrian civil society and media organizations.
- Raising societal awareness and breaking stereotypes about gender equality and justice.
- Promoting the representation of female and feminists voices in Syrian media.