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Burmese Women’s Union says role of ethnic media important to promote ethnic women’s voice

The involvement of the ethnic media is very important in revealing the voices and roles of women in ethnic areas, Ma Zue Padonma, MA Associate 1st General Secretary of the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU), said in an online talk show led by Burma News International (BNI) held on February 15th.

In the talk show titled “Women Voices on Ethnic Media”, Ma Zue Padonma pointed out that the media is not only capable of reaching the information to the public, but it is also a weapon used in ideological battles in Myanmar.

“The position of ethnic media is very important as it promotes the inclusion, role and voice of women in ethnic regions. I noticed a difference in how the media presented the role of women in the pre-coup and post-coup periods. Since the coup, the media has promoted more women’s leadership skills, and some media outlets have weekly programs on women, which I welcome”, she said.

However, when reporting the news of violence against women, victim-blaming writings occur by accident sometimes while journalists are trying to express the incident clearly, this is still the same as before the coup hence news written without gender bias should be strengthened and encouraged, Ma Zue Padonma suggested.

There were already few female journalists in the ethnic media before the coup, and many male and female journalists left the workplace due to the security situation in post-coup period, so the difficulties and challenges in the news continuity section are more than before hence it is necessary to work with other civil society organizations to overcome conservative ideas and emerge a stronger media force, Nan Paw Gay, editor-in-chief of KIC said.

“In order to improve the inclusion of women’s voices, the media needs to present not only the parts that women feel, but also the various aspects that women face from all walks of life. At the time of such a presentation, women have a better understanding of each other, so it should be encouraged to increase the participation of female journalists”, she added.

In addition, female journalists in ethnic media often face challenges depending on understanding or knowledge about work, respect of media ethics, and the proportion of women in the top positions of major news outlets is still too low, and qualities like endurance of narrow mindedness, self-confidence, leadership skill and insight will surely be needed to strengthen the leadership of women in the media sector, Nan Paw Gay added.

“When we were recruiting for top positions at our news agency, we noticed that some women were talented but lacked courage. Some are eager to work but lack the skills. Those who have been associated with women’s organizations usually have all the capabilities, skills and courage. I believe that we should all support women so that they are recognized more and their ability to work increases. If women also improve their willingness to work, hard work and skills, women with more leadership capabilities will surely emerge”, Shan Herald Editor-in-Chief Sai Muang who participated in the talk show said.

In that online talk show, BWU, the editor-in-chiefs of KIC and Shan Herald discussed the voice, inclusion, role, and performance of the women in ethnic media, as well as challenges they faced.

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