Nyaradzo Makombe, who is the interim co-ordinator of the organization facilitated the meeting. In her opening remarks she said FAMWZ as an organization is in a struggle to put women on the map so that their voices can be heard in the media.She however expressed concern on the reluctance shown by women in supporting programs that advocate for them. According to her, men seem to respond better than women whereas the latter are the ones that need to be advocated for, “…guys always respond better and the ladies are not making enough noise”, she said.
Nyaradzo also encouraged women to keep themselves abreast with technology so that they move along with time. She said this as she attributed part of women’s inactiveness to their being technologically challenged because one can fail to attend a meeting since it would have been posted on some website and the intended audience fails to get it.
Grace Mtandwa, a columnist from The Standard newspaper shared the same sentiments saying some women are reluctant to have their voices heard.This, she said creates problems since a donkey can not be forced to drink. “You cannot drag a comment out of a woman just because you want to write about women.” She rather urged the women to fight for their space in this male dominated environment.
Amid the meeting, arguments sprouted as gender activists and journalists clashed, with the former accusing the latter of portraying women in negative light only. Rutendo, an actress and feminist, vocally expressed
her bitterness about this saying men are being portrayed as always right with no blame to take, giving the example of a lady of the night who featured in the H-Metro after being seen in the same clothes for two days.
The activists were attacking Zimbabwe’s leading tabloid, H-Metro of always portraying women negatively. Mirirai Msingo from H-Metro eventually poured water onto the argument clarifying that the tabloid does not only focus on women in scandal but also paints them in good light.
Grace Mtandwa went on to comment on this saying that editors of the various media houses should be engaged since they are the ones that determine what story is to make it into a newspaper. However, the columnist dwelled much on the idea that women should step up and make themselves be heard.
Despite the differing view points shared, a consensus was reached, that FAMWZ should consider a magazine or newspaper dealing with women issues only.
The people present agreed on membership by association rather than by subscription.
The Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe was incepted three years ago with a vision for a media which respects and values the opinion of both women and men, listens to women, learns form them and reports in a gender sensitive manner.
Mercy Ngwebvu and Garikai Fadzi