We know that the media shapes how millions of people understand the world that surrounds them and understand the nature of social relations. In recent years, women’s rights advocates have worked increasingly to insert a human rights agenda into the images and narratives that we see in the newspapers, on the radio, on TV, and more. But for some organizations, these efforts have taken on a new and exciting form.
One recent AWID event showcased a few examples of this sort of innovation. Take Breakthrough, for instance. An organization based in both the US and India, they have been at the cutting edge of using pop culture to change the way a society thinks about women’s rights. In 2001, they produced a music video that became wildly popular in India and that promoted a message of women’s empowerment. More recently, their video game ICED portrayed the experiences of undocumented immigrants in the US and allowed users to virtually experience their day-to-day lives.
In Nicaragua, the soap opera Sexto Sentido, a project of the organization Puntos de Encuentro has captured the attention of a huge national audience. The program has taken the risk of portraying a range of socially taboo issues—like abortion, transgender identity, and sexual abuse—in a country where the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and other conservative forces hold significant sway.
These projects infiltrate spaces where human rights may be unfamiliar and transmit their message to new audiences. These kinds of media interventions change the way that millions of people think about and talk about issues related to women’s human rights.