Feminist online platform empowers women journalists in Palestine

Solidarity and coalition are the best response to attacks, says Wafa’ Abdel Rahman, editor in chief of NAWA, a Palestinian feminist online platform.

After having realised that its work to empower women journalists in Palestine fell between the cracks because the male-dominated media were too conservative to welcome the women as equals in the editorial room, Filastiniyat, a non-profit media-advocacy organisation, decided to take matters into its own hands.

The creation of NAWA has meant that more female voices are participating in the traditional media, says Wafa’ Abdel Rahman, founder and editor in chief of NAWA. Photo: Filastiniyat

The result was the creation of NAWA, now in its seventh year of existence: A feminist online platform producing content on societal issues – problems, challenges and marginalisation. Stories, that are not usually covered by mainstream media, explains Wafa’ Abdel Rahman, editor in chief of NAWA.

“Being feminist does not necessarily mean that you are only covering female issues. Being feminist is to provide analysis of power structures – it is to focus on groups with less power. NAWA is our voice as women journalists, but also the voice of the marginalised.”

NAWA is run by a couple of permanent staff members and 40-60 freelancers – all female journalists who are having a hard time entering the traditional media. NAWA functions as a combined news agency and training facility, where young, and sometimes in-experienced reporters receive in-depth feedback and editorial coaching to improve their skills while at the same time giving them exposure and empowering them financially.

Nawa is constructed upon Filastiniyat’s flagship, a a female journalist club, which was founded 10 years ago.  Aside from providing capacity building to its 600+ members coming from both Gaza and The Westbank, the club works as a network where members support each other.

“With the amount of attacks on freedoms coming from everywhere we need to restore solidarity and coalition – it is the best response to attacks. We need each other as women. It is not only attacks on media, but also attacks on women. We needed to have this network and this coalition,“ says Wafa’ Abdel Rahman.