Extensive original reporting about girls and women around the world, their achievements, and the social, political and economic problems affecting their lives, was on the programming menu at the Voice of America in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th.
The VOA News Center launched a three-part television series examining sex trafficking with a unique focus on women in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, a TV and web report concerning empowering refugee women, a profile of Tahera Rahman, the first American news anchor to wear a hijab on the air, as well as stories about the growing number of female candidates in U.S. politics. The coverage didn’t end there, though, as VOA United Nations Correspondent Margaret Besheer will be reporting from the 62nd annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN from March 12th to the 23rd.
VOA’s newest TV program, Plugged in with Greta Van Susteren, marked International Women’s Day with a conversation with Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), chairwoman of the House Ethics Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. Rep. Brooks discussed initiatives she and other Members of Congress have led to bolster women’s rights in the U.S. and around the world. Also joining the show was Ayesha Tanzeem, VOA’s Islamabad Bureau Chief, who explained that the #MeToo movement in the U.S. is being followed in Pakistan through social media. Tanzeem also described some of the more difficult issues facing women in South Asia. Lastly, Kamissa Camara, Africa director of PartnersGlobal, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., discussed the specific challenges confronting women in Africa.
Social media for International Women’s Day was abuzz as well at VOA. Content on a variety of platforms examined the conditions for women in Latin America to highlight Hispanic women at American University, to focus on young women working with, Girl Up, a UN organization to empower women, and to talk with María Emma Mejía, Colombian Ambassador to the UN, about the role of women in fulfilling economic goal development.
VOA language services carried special programming dedicated exclusively to the commemorative day, including TV and radio reports, interactive Facebook Live chats and other social media products. Most of VOA’s 45 language services spoke with a variety of elected officials, academics, activists, advocacy groups, as well as everyday women about the challenges they face.
“Voice of America has led this initiative and given all of us the opportunity, as media organizations and as journalists, to participate in a program about the role of women in politics and society. It has been an opportunity to learn about the issues and challenges facing others in the region,” wrote Anibal Toruño, Director of Radio Dario, an affiliate of VOA’s Spanish service in Nicaragua.