The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) today announced the first annual MISA's Women to Watch, to mark International Women's Day, which is celebrated around the world on 8 March each year.
MISA is honouring 12 dynamic and inspirational southern African women who embody both the official United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2014 – Equality for women is progress for all – as well as the theme designated by non-governmental organisations around the world – Inspiring Change.
The 12 women, who are all under the age of 40, are profiled in an electronic magazine available on MISA's website, www.misa.org.
Among the honorees is Swazi journalist Nontobeko Tshabalala. A young wordsmith and feisty feminist, Nontobeko writes for the Times of Swaziland, where she is a strong advocate for the advancement of women's rights.
MISA Regional Director, Ms Zoe Titus said, "We chose women who we see as rising stars in the region, women whose achievements to date are a promise of more great work to come, making them women to watch."
"From a beauty queen-turned-UN communications specialist; to an art photographer challenging mainstream ideals of beauty; to a human rights lawyer fighting for freedom of expression, the twelve women profiled in this publication are all contributing, in their own unique and creative ways, to making southern Africa a more conducive environment for media freedom and improving the ability of all people – including the vulnerable and marginalised in our communities – to access their right to freedom of expression" said Ms. Titus.
The women profiled in the publication are:
Alisa Amupolo, a technology entrepreneur from Namibia
Ana Margoso, a newspaper journalist from Angola
Chikondi Mphande, a radio journalist from Malawi
Emma Theofelus, a high school student from Namibia who is the Junior Mayor of the City of Windhoek
Hoyce Temu, a communications specialist and former Miss Tanzania
Jean Chalungama, a radio journalist from Malawi and one of the only female sports journalists in the country
Mboni Masimba, a talk show host from Tanzania
Mwiza Zulu, a teenage radio and television presenter in Zambia
Nellie Kanyemba, a journalist from Malawi
Nontobeko Tshabala, a newspaper journalist from Swaziland
Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo, a human rights lawyer from South Africa
Solange Dos Santos, a photographer from Mozambique.
The official UN theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "Equality for women is progress for all," and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, highlighted the significance of this theme in his annual International Women's Day message:
"Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support."
Ms Titus said, "I would add to this that countries with more women in the media have a better chance of reflecting the voices of all members of their populations, of achieving greater participation of women and of providing fair and balanced reporting on women's issues and rights".