CSW61: Reflections. "Feminists of the World, Unite!"

Jelena Visnjic, PhD*

Feminist practice is not some predefined pattern, but action in a certain political context presenting various technologies of resistance to governing structures of power that produce inequality. To me, feminism is a space that opens a possibility of permanent rethinking of the reality, but also of critiquing all established ways of thinking, including feminist ones – all in all, it is a space and knowledge that begins social change.

At the conference “Gender and Media: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post 2015 Era” held in March in New York, feminists, media experts and activists got together to jointly rethink new media practices and resistances to growing (neo)conservativism and (re)patriarchalization both locally and globally. These processes reflect upon everyday lives of women and the construction of different gender identities in media contents. Even though we are living different political, social and economic realities, the common denominators of our experiences are continuous discrimination, sexism and misogyny, as well as marginalization of the voices of women and others in public and media spaces.

To me this was a unique opportunity to hear so many different and brave voices and to get out of the Eurocentric zone, facing my own fallacies and lack of knowledge, and rethinking feminist politics, realizing that our strength lies in strategic sisterhood and unity of all of our differences, since our worlds, media and communication strategies may be different, but we fight the same struggle.

All the exchanges of knowledge during these three intense and too short days were marked by the absolute lack of hierarchy based on our (geographic, economic, social) positions and/or privileges, and present our tools to be used for building a future more just for all of us.

IMAGE: Top row from left to right: Rokeya Kabir, Pham Thi Minh Hang, Margaret Sentamu. Middle row: Olayide Akanni, Gbenga Osinaike, Jelena Visnjic. Bottom row: Abida Pehlic addresses the participants.

*Jelena is executive director and co-founder of BeFem feminist cultural centre. She is a lecturer, associate of the Women’s Studies Center in Belgrade and activist of the feminist movement. Since 2009 the BeFem Feminist Cultural Center has been debating and promoting feminist politics, culture and art through diverse programs such as festival, media production and education with a focus to empower, motivate and activate a new generation of feminists and encourage exchanges and cooperation at local, regional and international levels. The Center's vision is a society where women and men have equal opportunities, share power and live free of violence and oppression. Its mission is to promote the politics of feminism especially among younger women by opening new spaces and bringing in new voices. Read more at www.befem.org


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Advancing gender equality in media

In my opinion, the most effective strategy to achieve gender-sensitive media is:

Increased gender-awareness training of media professionals
Greater action by audiences to hold their media accountable
Stricter enforcement of gender-focussed media codes and policies
More female journalists, editors and media house managers

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