Reminding ourselves and our communities of that simple statement every March 8 is a call that is necessary for two reasons: we need to celebrate the achievements and progress that has been made.

And we need to recharge ourselves, organize, and act to rise up to the challenges that remain.


Pacific women in the media, through the promise of our Pacific leaders when they went to Beijing, China for the UN’s action call on women in 1995, have a right to leadership and decision-making roles in the media.

They have a right to decent pay and working conditions while employers implement gender equality polices in newsrooms.

And as media consumers, we all have the right to fair, balanced news content speaking to gender balanced news content and values.

They a right to all these things not because they are women, but because they are human.

International Women’s Day isn’t about creating a space where our men and boys feel left out.

It’s about addressing the spaces where our women and girls are left out.

This time last year, as we have in previous years, PFF issued an alert specific to the threats against women’s voices and women’s work in the news.

That hasn’t changed.

Parallel to this statement, our annual IWD media release this year highlights a focus issue of concern for balance in gender portrayal in news content, and calls on more Pacific newsrooms to support the Global Media Monitoring Project, to ensure results are more reflective of our realities.

PFF is a volunteer network, led by journalists for journalists on the Article 19 watchdog role at the core of our work.

I want to thank my co-chairs Alex Rheeney from PNG, and Bernedette Carreon from Palau, for their support and advisory role for the Melanesia and Micronesia subregions.

In the focus that PFF takes on industry-led, industry-focused solutions to the problems of violence, intimidation, and working conditions facing our Pacific women in journalism, there remains an insidious silence and denial that the problems women in media face are worth reporting.

I am making this plea to the women who go through any situation where their rights as workers and journalists are under threat, to please reach out and report these incidents.

About IWD The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975.

Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.

Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made.

To call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. (Lisa Williams-Lahari Media Officer – Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency) [/restrict]