Every Thursday, Chicago’s NPR station, WBEZ, has a series called Global Activism. I’m a new subscriber, but, as a writer here at Gender Across Borders, you can see why the series caught my interest (and I highly recommend it).
A few weeks ago on Global Activism, Cristi Hegranes, founder of the Global Press Institute, was interviewed. The Global Press Institute is a not-for-profit organization that trains women around the world to be journalists. Hegranes was inspired to start this program while she was interviewing women around the world for her own reporting. She said she felt she lacked the context that the women who actually lived in these areas had, both socially and politically, and felt that the women she was interviewing would do a better job writing these stories than she would.
Now, the Global Press Institute has trained and employs 124 women around the world between the ages of 18 and 66 and from all different walks of life. When asked why Hegranes wanted to focus specifically on women, she said that a women-centered project wasn’t originally in her business plan, but she decided she wanted community development to come from this project as well. Women who are trained with a specific skill set tend to stay where they are and put money back into the community, whereas men tend to move out of the community for higher paying jobs.
The Global Press Institute website is really great, and definitely worth checking out if not subscribing to. In her interview, Hegranes stated that she doesn’t assign stories to the reporters; rather, the women are responsible for coming up with their own ideas. Because of this, they rarely do breaking news stories. More often, they report on social justice issues, news issues, and community reactions to events.
It is heartening that a program like this exists. I wrote my master’s thesis on feminist bloggers, and found that those of us in the feminist blogging community overwhelmingly have the time, funds, and education to be able to participate in blogging, commenting, reading, etc. With programs such as the Global Press Institute, women who may not have otherwise had access to training or technology are now sharing their voices and perspectives with the world. Not to mention that they now have a skill set that enables them to make a living. It seems like a win-win situation, and I’d like to see more programs like this. Empowering women around the world is a must, and hearing their perspectives is equally important. After all, isn’t that why we’re here at Gender Across Borders, too – to discuss global feminist issues and read a multitude of global perspectives? (Hint: The answer is yes!)