Last week the New York Community Media Alliance (NYCMA) hosted a conference entitled Effective Messaging on Women’s Issues. Ranging from advocacy, government, journalism and academia, I had the privilege of hearing many experienced women discuss (and dispute) important policies affecting women and how we can all collaborate to better meet their needs through effective messaging.
The problem is, while numerous organizations tirelessly work to produce compelling data showcasing racial and gender based health disparities, there is little coverage of these issues in ethnic and community media. The primary question during the conference revolved around this: How can we present information in the news to drive policy analysis and discussions to people who are not women of color?
Effective messaging on Latinas’ reproductive health has many implications; delivering important reproductive health information to Latinas and their communities, countering the effects of biased news articles, contributing to a more balanced dialogue on reproductive health and justice (since many of our issues can become so polemicized), and calling on stakeholders to act to advance more equitable polices for Latinas and their communities.
Some key pointers from this conference included:
- Nurturing relationships with the press: Regular updates and personalized comments on their previous work;
- Cross-sector collaboration: Having partner organizations echoing a unified message
- Putting a “face” to our issue: Communicating the relevancy of the issue and how it impacts our communities.
- Intersectional approach: Considering how race, class, sex, and other factors influence a specific issue would help support how much of the time, women’s issues affect more than just women and are rooted in institutions beyond their control.
Through improved messaging and collaboration with other sectors, I believe we can facilitate the increased coverage of women’s issues. Only by being on the forefront of people’s minds will we be able to truly advance equitable policies that respect and empower women and address disparities that disproportionally affect women of color.
By Rita Martinez, Development and Communications Intern