PRB Women’s Edition, Asia Seminar 2016 puts ideas of gender into perspective

Women scribes from three different countries — India, Nepal and Bangladesh came together in Mumbai recently as part of Population Research Bureau’s Women’s Edition / Asia Seminar 2016 to examine and report on pressing issues affecting women’s health and status.

Women’s Edition seeks development of informed policy decisions affecting women through factual, accurate, and up-to-date media coverage that reflects women’s needs and perspectives. By providing information directly to millions of women in developing countries on issues that are important to them, Women’s Edition also helps to shape public discussion of these issues and to arm women with information that allows them to take control of their lives.

Each year, PRB organizes two week-long seminars and study tours for Women’s Edition members on pressing reproductive health and related issues. Recent seminars have explored family planning, maternal mortality, women and HIV/AIDS, the role of men in women’s reproductive health, sex trafficking, and reproductive health of youth. Seminar locations have included Washington, D.C.; New York; New Delhi and Mumbai, India; Barcelona, Spain; San Jose, Costa Rica; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya.

Following a seminar, each Women’s Edition journalist produces for her media organization at least one in-depth and high-profile special report, series of stories, or program based on the theme of that seminar. These have included special newspaper pull-out sections, features, in-depth news reports, editorials, and talk shows.

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Swagata Yadavar, Principal Correspondent, IndiaSpend says, “PRB helped me in putting my ideas of gender into perspective, it has helped me analyse my work through a gender perspective. I am consciously seeking out women as case studies and how policies affect them. I also got many story ideas through the workshop and conversing with the participants.”

An interesting aspect of the Seminar was a session called “What do men have to do with it?” that explored how men can be made active participants on issues related to women’s health. Teresa Rehman, Managing Editor, The Thumb Print says, “This was an eye-opener for me. Unless men are raised to take personal and collective action on any issue related to women empowerment, the problems will continue. As a journalist, it is important to talk to the men as well when it comes to women’s health.”

Jasmin Moli, staff reporter, Bonik Barta of Bangladesh says, “Women’s Edition seminar helped me to identify my drawbacks. I learnt a lot of things that will help me to deliver a story with a gender sensitive lens. Here, I learn how to put data to my story and will help me pitch my story better. My perspective on gender issues changed after attending this Seminar.”

The Seminar also tried to analyse population issues in a more effective manner. Pragati Bankhele, Chief Copy Editor, Maharashtra Times says, “It helped me understand the reproductive anatomy and modern contraceptives. Through field visits, we got to see some innovative work and experiments aiming toward a solution of chronic issues. The interaction with the other participants was also enlightening.”

Diksha Madhok, Editor, Quartz India says, “It was a wonderful experience. I am glad they organised a field visit to Pune. The organisation called ECF is doing a great job teaching boys how to fight patriarchy.”