(April 2015) Two alumna of the Population Reference Bureau’s (PRB) Women’s Edition program were among the five scholarship winners chosen to attend Women Deliver’s 2016 conference in Copenhagen this May.
The five winners were picked in a public online voting contest from among 15 journalists honored by Women Deliver for excellence in reporting on the health and rights of women and girls. These 15 honorees had been selected by an internal Women Deliver review board from a competitive pool of more than 100 journalists nominated by dozens of the organizations’ partners and supporters.
Through the Women’s Edition program, PRB brings together senior-level women editors, reporters, and producers from influential media organizations in developing countries to examine and report on pressing issues affecting women’s health and status. Up to 15 senior journalists from leading news media organizations around the developing world are competitively selected to participate in this biennial activity.
The two PRB alumna chosen to receive Women Deliver conference scholarships are Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam of Pakistan and Rina Jimenez-David of the Philippines; below are brief descriptions of their work and what they told Women Deliver in their own words about their experiences and beliefs:
FARAHNAZ ZAHIDI MOAZZAM, PAKISTAN
Moazzam was a member of PRB’s Women’s Edition project between 2010 and 2012. As national desk editor for The Express Tribune, she confronts and challenges cultural and religious norms that threaten girls’ and women’s health and rights in Pakistan, including fistula, sexual violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, and religious extremism, among others. Her stories have even pressured local authorities and policymakers to enforce laws that protect women, and in one case put some perpetrators of sexual assault behind bars.
In her own words: “As a storyteller, I know that there is no story in the world where both a male and a female character are not involved. I tilt towards the female side of the story, not just because I am a woman, but because I understand the Pakistani woman’s indigenous sensibilities as I am one. Hence, my stories are not just sob stories. I am a positive person. So my stories are stories of triumphant women.”
RINA JIMENEZ-DAVID, PHILIPPINES
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Jimenez-David was a member of PRB’s Women’s Edition project between 2010 and 2012. Her voice is synonymous with girls’ and women’s rights in the Philippines. Since 1989, she has published four columns weekly for the country’s most widely read newspaper—many of which have been dedicated to girls’ and women’s health and rights. Her reporting helped maintain momentum around the 14-year-long debate over the Philippines’ groundbreaking reproductive health bill, which guarantees universal access to contraception, sexual education, and maternal care.
In her own words: “Girls’ and women’s health issues aren’t front-page news because they are considered ‘continuing’ crises rather than alarming developments, such as the threat of Ebola or the MERS-COV virus. My own attitude through the years has evolved from bemoaning the absence of such stories from the front pages to working to find spaces for them in other sections, such as columns like mine.”
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