WIFP sees two levels of communication operating for women.
1. The first level is in our women-owned
media where we raise our issues for discussion initially among
ourselves, formulating and reformulating them as we bring in all
our perspectives and first-hand experience from our many cultures
and the full range of our economic and social lives. We articulate and develop our multi-faceted positions
on each of our issues, including violence to women, political
representation, health, discrimination, child care, employment
opportunities, reproductive choice, sexual harassment, equality
under the law, and many more.
All forms of communication can be (and are) "women's media" -- when we use them to communicate our experience, concerns, needs, and perspectives to each other and to the public: from print to broadcast, film, art, and music and other forms of media. Also communication through conferences, demonstrations, lobbying -- and our many organizations (a very important means of communication for women) and now the new electronic media, the internet, world wide web, and fax networks.
2. At the second level, those of us who work in male-owned mass media can then point to these issues now made visible, showing their demonstrated support, and urge coverage of them for the necessary wider dissemination, discussion, and public debate. We are able to press editors, news directors, and management not only for better news coverage but also for the fullest possible reflection of women's diversity on each issue. We can help the public to hear as directly as possible from the women themselves to make the news information be more authentic and accurate.
The two levels operate independently but
are interdependent. Those of us at
the second level need the women at the first level to raise
the issues loud and clear so that our male editors and news directors
can see that the subject is truly "news" and "an
issue" to which coverage should be assigned. Those of us
at the first level, with our more limited outreach need
the help of women in the large-circulation media to increase the
public knowledge and understanding of our issues.
At both levels we share a common goal: to increase the power to bring change and progress through making known the many new options for women and girls from which they may select what best suits their abilities, interests, and needs. Thus by reaching an ever-larger number of people and increasing the public's knowledge of additional viewpoints, perspectives, and options, the public's decisions become more viable, peaceful, and respectful, and the decision-making is more democratic.
© Copyright 1972, Donna Allen, Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
(Be sure to see our booklets series for more media philosophy. These booklets, and other publications, are available in printed form.)To the WIFP Philosophy Page