International Ambassador for the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) Ms. Sharon Bhagwan Rolls has been awarded 2014 “Woman of Distinction” by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO-CSW).
The award was presented at the NGO-CSW Forum Reception in New York on 11 March, 2014 on the occasion of the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.The annual award recognizes a woman of distinction who is an inspiration to the world and has shown leadership in the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
A tireless activist for women’s rights, Sharon is the Executive Director for FemlinkPacific Media Initiative for Women, a Fiji-based non-profit organisation that advocates on UNSCR 1325, community media and women, peace and human security concerns. FemlinkPacific has coordinated the participation of Pacific Island nations in the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) since 2005.
The committee recognized Sharon’s outstanding work with women’s grass roots organizations and communications related to women’s empowerment.
Sharon said she was humbled to be selected "especially when one's work for peace and justice is not about awards or recognition but action and service so that others can claim their rights to peace, security and equitable development". She underscored FemlinkPacific's focus "to promote and enable women to claim their communication rights whether it is within decision making foras in her community or on the airwaves as well as public media. This means we are also addressing the gender gaps within the media by creating content which features women from within their communities communicating for themselves what their development, human rights and equality priorities are”.
In accepting the award, Sharon emphasized the need to build on the GMMP findings and "ensure that communication regulatory systems are gender inclusive and do not simply regard women as homogenous, heteronormative and passive consumers of the media but as active producers of media content".
The GMMP network celebrates this recognition of Sharon's work, noting in particular her tremendous contributions to advancing women's communication rights in Fiji, across the Pacific region and globally.
Previous recipients of the award are Bineta Diop (Senegal, 2013), Tawakkol Karman (Yemen, 2013), Cunningham Kain (Nicaragua, 2012) and Dr. Kaosar Afsana (Bangladesh, 2011).Since 2003 WACC has partnered with FemLINKPacific on work to advance women’s communication rights in Fiji and the Pacific region. The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) is a WACC-coordinated research and advocacy initiative that seeks to advance gender justice in and through the news media.