E-newsletter January 2008
A communications initiative for a balanced, planned and stable population
UNFPA-Laadli Media Awards for Western Region announced
The UNFPA-Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity (Western Region) were announced on December 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm at the Tata Theatre, Nariman Point, Mumbai. Professionals in the fields of advertising, print and electronic media, films and theatre were felicitated for challenging gender stereotypes and highlighting women’s concerns in the media. This is the first in a region-wise roll-out of awards, the next being Southern, Eastern and Northern regional awards. The Western region included Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Nineteen awards were presented at the function presided by Ms. Usha Thorat, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. The Guest of Honour was Mr. Nesim Tumkaya, Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the global body that works on population issues with a focus on women and children. Sex selection and female foeticide being one of the critical areas that needs to be addressed in our population, UNFPA and Population First have come together to organise the Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2006-07. The Awards function saw some renowned names from the media and social sector. Jury members for the Western region including Ameen Sayani, Deepa Gahlot, Divya Jagdale, Manish Jha, Nandini Sardesai, Raell Padamsee, Shanta Gokhale, Suneeta Rao and Tanuja Chandra made it to the function.
The function began with Laadli Spokesperson Suneeta Rao’s music video ‘Sun Zara’ that depicted the pressure a woman undergoes from society to produce a son. The high-impact film, shot by Jason and directed by Rachael Reuben with support from the UNFPA was highly appreciated.
Ms. Dolly Thakore, National Coordinator for the Awards took the audience through the proceedings as the host. She invited Mr. S.V. Sista, Executive Trustee, PF to welcome the guests. He stressed on the importance of the media understanding its own biases and said “Having a gender sensitive approach will not adversely affect viewership or readership, nor would bottom-lines dip.” He explained the scope of the Awards, which are to be held pan-India, across four regions- West, South, East and North (in that order). The event will culminate in a National Awards function in New Delhi in the last week of April. The best work from the four regions will be featured there.
Dr. A.L. Sharada, Programme Director, Population First put the theme for the Awards ‘Waves of Change’ into perspective, which was depicted in all the promotion material. She thanked all those who contributed to making positive changes and expressed the hope that more would join in.
An poignant audio-visual created by Mr. Yogi Chopra set to the music of Jag Jaa, a song from the film Omkara by Vishal Bharadwaj was screened. It drew tremendous applause from the 800-strong audience, as it featured little girls in various moods, and ended with shocking statistics with respect to the child sex ratio.
In her speech, Ms. Usha Thorat said “We must all hang our heads in shame looking at the alarming statistics of the sex ratio.” She stressed on the need for media to be an active stakeholder in the movement to empower women. She also showed a short clip of a woman talking about how micro-finance had helped her overcome many hurdles which put Ms. Thorat’s views into perspective. She commended PF’s efforts to address the core social values that undermine the woman.
The line-up of artistes for the evening was selected to make it relevant to the issue of gender discrimination. Percussionist Taufiq Qureshi dedicated his performance to all the girl children born on the day and enthralled the audience. An excerpt from the play, Ji, Jaisi Aapki Marzi was performed by Kajri Babbar, a 13-year-old powerhouse who single-handedly made a huge impact on the audience. Titled Mujhe Jeene Do, it addressed the various forms of gender discrimination faced by girls within the home like the denial of education, nutrition, healthcare etc.
The nature of the Awards is not merely in the spirit of competition. Rather, through the process of calling for entries, follow-up emails and phone calls, jury meetings and finally giving out the Awards, we have successfully engaged many people, at various levels in the media and advertising, in discussions and introspection on what constitutes ‘gender sensitivity’. Taking this now pan-India is a challenge we look forward to. Coming up are the Southern regional awards on March 28, 2008 in Chennai, followed by the Eastern and Northern regions. Read details here.
The event was covered on Doordarshan, Zee News, ETV Marathi and CNN IBN in the electronic media. Rediff.com, TOI’s Mumbai and Ahmedabad editions, Sakal, Kutch Mitra, Rajasthan Patrika and Hindustan Times also featured the Awards.
Responses to our Nov-Dec 2007 e-newsletter
"Thank you for sending the e-newletter. I applaud the work being done by PF to sensitise media through Laadli campaign! I'll appreciate getting a copy of this work - 'Understanding gender and media', especially the analysis presented by Dr Sharada. Is there any dissemination plan to reach wider audience and common people? May I suggest that it be put on CDs alongwith with some discussion points and sent to likeminded people who can screen it in their offices/homes. I believe that this work should reach maximum people and should not be limited to media and development sector only. I volunteer to send it to 50+ organizations/people and initiate a discussion on the issue."
From Armaity Desai
"The gender initiative with the media and students was a much-needed one. TISS' media unit had made a short film on it in the 90s, which you might find useful. It was used with the students of social work but it is very relevant for the media as it uses ads to show the way gender is portrayed. I greatly appreciate this effort. I find the reporting is also very sensitively done in this issue."
Shetty House, 3rd floor, 101 M.G. Road, Mumbai 400 001, India
Tel: 91 22 2262 6672 / 76 Fax: 91 22 2270 2217