March 5, 2001


 

WOMEN'S FEATURE SERVICE

  • The only women's features syndicate in India, WFS produces articles with a gender perspective.

  • Works with journalists in India and abroad to generate features, profiles and analyses on a wide range of people and issues.

  • Ensures that women's voices are heard in the media by generating articles for newspapers, magazines, journals and websites in India and abroad.

  • Produces over 300 features annually.

  • Focuses on themes and concerns not usually highlighted by the mainstream print and electronic media.

HISTORY IN BRIEF

WFS began in 1978 as a UNESCO initiative, located within Inter Press Service (IPS) - the Third World news agency headquartered in Rome, Italy. The objective was to ensure more gender analyses and views in the media. WFS became an independent organisation in 1991. It is based in New Delhi, India.

VISION

Today, An equal society for both women and men that is focused on addressing the rights and needs of those on the margins.

MISSION

Building awareness about women's lives, rights and concerns and generating professionally edited stories on them for the media every week.

WHAT ELSE DOES WFS DO?

  • Designs and implements workshops to sensitise and train media professionals on gender and development issues.

  • Partners social groups and agencies working on social concerns.

  • Highlights the work of civil society initiatives and development projects at the international, regional and national level.

  • Offers professional advice on media strategy to NGOs and networks.

  • Organises public talks and discussions on topical issues.

  • Provides resource material to research organisations.

  • Undertakes media monitoring projects.

  • Maintains a lively website that can be accessed at www.wfsnews.org

  • Generates images of women in various social settings and contexts.

RECENT ACTIVITIES OF WFS

Covering social issues that impact women and their rights…

  • Anchored 25 features, with related images, on the specific theme of 'Women in Conflict Zones', in partnership with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This led to a seminar on the subject in which survivors of conflict participated. A public photo exhibition of images from the series was also organised.

  • During the General Elections 2009 to the 15th Lok Sabha, WFS in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stifung (FES) did a series of 10 features on the electoral campaigns of important women participating in the elections, including Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa. This also led to a half-day seminar on the Women's Reservation Bill at the India Women's Press Corps in Delhi, in which prominent Members of Parliament participated.

  • Climate change, as an urgent social issue, was comprehensively covered by WFS. Two series of articles were generated on the theme. One was on an all-India series of public hearings on climate change in which ordinary women farmers participated. The other series entitled, 'Climate Change, Gender and MDGs in India', mapped the experiences of women from ecologically vulnerable regions and highlighted best practices in addressing climate change.

Working towards making the media more socially aware…

  • A workshop was conducted in association with DFID to profile Bihar as an emerging state. Entitled 'Bihar - Recovery and Growth: How the Media Should Read the Moment', it aimed at building the capacity of the media to promote and improve public awareness on good governance and report accurately on developmental issues.

  • Another media workshop, conducted in partnership with ICRC in Ranchi, focused on the challenges of reporting from conflict zones and promoting an understanding on international humanitarian law.

  • In association with UN agencies, WFS did two capacity-building workshops for journalists at the community level in Lucknow and Jaipur. The workshops were intended to build awareness on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) among this section of journalists.

  • WFS did a fellowship project for 15 journalists across the country. The fellowship holders filed features on the theme of 'Women As Agents Of Change', which were then put out on the WFS log. The images emerging from the series were mounted as part of specially staged public photo exhibitions.

Working with young people for future change…

  • WFS organised, in partnership with Unnati Features, a contest titled, 'Mera India, Bridge the Gap'. Targeted at the youth, it invited young adults to suggest ways in which India can help meet its commitments on MDGs through an essay, pictorial strip or film. A very lively awards ceremony was organised at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, in which the talent and voices of young people from all over the country were showcased.

  • WFS hosted for university students a seminar on defining governance and citizens' rights in association with FES.

  • WFS focuses on promoting young talent. It encourages journalists who have just come into the field to contribute to the service and guides them in an interactive manner.


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