World Association of News Publishers

The Making of Leaders: Women in News launches first MENA Forum

The Making of Leaders: Women in News launches first MENA Forum

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The first Women in News (WIN) Forum in Egypt took place on May 16 at the Cairo Marriott Hotel, gathering more than 250 media executives, chief editors, media experts and journalists, as well as independent media actors in Egypt. More than 65 Egyptian and Arabic media organizations were represented at the forum.

By Colette Davidson

“The goal of the forum was to move the discussion of the position of women in news center stage within the Egyptian media eco-system,” says Fatemah Farag, Director of the WIN programme in the MENA region. “To open up debate around how we as media professionals understand the dynamics that condition the presence of women in the newsrooms and accordingly what we might consider as steps forward within the Egyptian context.”

The forum tackled a variety of topics, including the situation for women in Egyptian newsrooms as well as gender balance, the importance of highlighting the rights and competences of female journalists outside Cairo, the role of women in changing stereotypes, the need to increase the number of female sources and experts, and the role of female journalists in increasing media coverage on women-related issues inside their media organizations.

Panelists and speakers included chief editor of Al-Ahram al-Masaei, Alaa Thabet; chief editor of Al-Shorouq newspaper Emadeddine Hussein; online managing editor of Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper Fathya Al-Dakhakhny; CEO of Mubasher Media International Assem Al-Bassal; Founder and chief editor of “Zaed 18” website Doaa Sultan, founder and managing editor of “Iskandarani” page at Welad al-Balad Doaa Jaber and managing editor of “E7ki” website Namees Arnous.

The first panel hosted heads of media organizations to discuss gender issues in the newsroom from a manager's point of view, while the second panel was led by women who have succeeded in the media industry. Panelists were invited to tell their success stories, the opportunities they had and the challenges they had to overcome.

“The event was very successful and this was remarkable due to the large number of participants, who confirmed the importance of discussing this issue in Egypt,” says Myra Abdullah, Programme Manager of Women in News. “The organizers received very positive feedback from participants, many of whom considered this event to be eye-opening regarding the many challenges facing women who work in the media sector.”

The forum was organized as a complement to WAN-IFRA’s Media Management Training, delivered in partnership with the American University of Cairo (AUC) from 7 to 17 May. The training gathered 28 prominent journalists from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine for two weeks of intensive training on media management, certified by the AUC.

The WIN MENA forum, as part of the WIN programme’s local activities in the MENA region (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine), will be followed by similar events in other countries.


The WIN programme works to empower women journalists and editors through capacity building, advocacy and education to help them advance in the media industry.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2017-05-31 10:45

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