Ambassador Verveer Talks of Power of Women in Media
by Caroline Lalonde
|Photo by Anthony Tilghman
March 23, 2011--“Women reporters make a difference when they come together” said global ambassador-at-large Melanne Verveer, who delivered a compelling keynote speech during today’s IWMF international conference luncheon.
Addressing an audience she described as a ‘hall of fame of women in journalism,’ Verveer shared some of her own stories. She emphasized the crucial role of women in economic development and how their impact on peace and security is recognized as more valuable than ever before.
“Women can and are changing the world and I see it everywhere I go,” said Verveer.
Verveer expressed certainty that women are the secret of economic growth. She called for more initiatives to increase women’s access to education and training, financial ownership, and technology such as “the exciting developments in mobile communications – simple cell phones that have the potential to train illiterate women, provide banking series, protect women from violence, and give them the information they need to feel empowered.”
In terms of security and peace, Verveer has observed real momentum building on the world stage that recognizes women as impactful agents of peace and stability. “Although progress hasn’t been fast enough, it is beginning to change,” she said as she cited the effort made by the UN and NATO to consider the unique experience and capability of women as community leaders.
Verveer acknowledged the women everywhere who are taking brave steps to confront conflicts around the world, specifically giving attention to the condition of women in the Arab world. She said it has been women on the frontlines in the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt and the future of Tunisia and Egypt depend on how women are to be included.
Commenting on IWMF’s Global Report on Women in the News Media, Verveer said that it has illustrated some progress on women’s equality in the media but she lamented a storyline that she called all too familiar - there is still a great distance yet to be traveled to end discrimination against women and to end the untapped potential of women in the media.
Verveer happily observed that this conference is organized in such a way that will lead to a platform of action because she believes that women’s progress is at a tipping point and it will indeed be the great imperative of the 21st century.
Verveer called on the journalists present to remember that there are not only tragedies to report on but also triumphs because ‘now is the time’ and “your reporting will continue to be decisive.”
To close her speech, Verveer proclaimed “Nothing about us without us.” She expanded on that popular movement slogan by saying, ‘the fact is that there is nothing that is not about us; As we fare so goes the world, as we prosper so goes the world.”
>> Read Verveer's speech.
>> Ambassador Verveer talked with Global Girls after her speech.