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Arab Women Media Forum to be held in Abu Dhabi

posted on 13/01/2002: 1962 views

The Arab Women Media Forum (AWMF), organised by the UAE General Women Union in co-operation with the Arab League General Secretariat, National Women Council (Egypt) and Al Hariri Foundation (Lebanon), will be held in Abu Dhabi on February 2 and 3 to coincide with Arab Women Day celebrations on February 1.

AWMF is one of a series of multi-topic forums endorsed by the Extraordinary Arab Women Summit held in November 2000, in Cairo. Dr. Hisa Lotah, Chairman of the AWMF's scientific committee said today the forum would feature intellectual and professional discussions of issues relating to women images in the mass media and the potential role of Arab women as media practitioners. 'Arab women are objectified, stereotyped and commodified by media, especially television, often presented as a consumerist force with no intellectual or decision-making potential, she told reporters.

Papers presented at the forum, she added, would address topics ranging from women media stereotypes, social and cultural hindrances to women media careers and women's use of new communication and information technologies as empowerment tools. 'The forum will also feature presentations of professional women media experiences and a discussion of a draft women media code of ethics, she said. Delegations representing women's organisations will also submit national reports detailing the status of women participation in media work in their respective countries. Participants also include academic researchers, media corporate representatives and media women practioners.

The fifth festival for productive families will be held alongside the forum under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President's Wife and Chairwoman of the UAE General Women Union. A press release issued by the Union said the issue of women and media had attracted increasing attention in the past few decades in the Arab world, especially in light of the dramatic transformations in women in women status in social, economic, cultural and political sectors. 'Despite the remarkable breakthrough achieved by Arab women in the media and communications sectors, there is still a huge gap in active female representation either in women- addressed media contents or in the professional practice of media work in broadcast and print media organizations,' the release noted.

The release pointed out that some studies had attributed this enduring 'divide' to the dominance of traditional misconceptions of women role in modern life at general societal or media levels, while researchers had noted that Arab women ' are objectified, stereotyped and commodified by media, especially television, often presented as a consumerist force with no intellectual or decision-making potential. "Women have also been victims of media misrepresentations in countries where Western media models have been instituted. In addition to highlighting women in urban areas to the exclusion of rural areas, media seems to have fallen short of delving into the real social, economic and cultural factors that inhibit women participation in modern life,' the release added. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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