March 2021 at The United Nations

On March 24, 2021, New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) presented the panel discussion “Representation Matters: Ensuring Inclusive Leadership in Politics and the Media.”  Originally planned to be hosted at the United Nations in March 2020 as part of the Commission on the Status Women Forum, the event was postponed and viewed online this year. 

Thanks to the vision of NYWIFT’s executive director Cynthia Lopez, and NDI’s senior associate & director for Gender, Women and Democracy Sondra Pepera, we  organized this incredible panel to discuss the importance of representation and strategies for equity at the intersection of politics and media.

One of the highlights for me was getting to hear from H.E. Hanna Tetteh, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union who left us with some closing thoughts: 

“Media needs to help the public believe that women are where they belong. Lupita Nyong’o said, “No matter where you are, your dreams are valid.” 

Own your ambition.  Men have been doing that for centuries.”

This partnership holds special significance for me because my first job out of college was with NDI, where I helped organize workshops for women in politics in Argentina and Jordan all the way back in the 90s. 

Being virtual made it a truly a global presentation – from 4 different time zones.  Our participants were in Los Angeles, New York City, Stockholm and Addis Ababa and our audience tuned in around the world.  You can read more and watch the recording of the event at the link below.

Clockwise from top left: Journalist and Moderator Natasha Del Toro, Birgitta Ohlsson (Director of Political Parties at the National Democratic Institute and former Swedish MP), H.E Hanna Tetteh (UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union), Tanya Saracho (playwright and television writer), and Sheila Nevins (Executive Producer at MTV Networks).
Up and at ’em at 6am when the panel spans 4 time zones: California, New York, Sweden and Ethiopia!

National Democratic Institute & New York Women in Film & Television Present: 
Representation Matters: Ensuring Inclusive Leadership in Politics and the Media

Join NDI & NYWIFT for this incredible panel that will focus on addressing the power imbalances and gender gap in politics and the media caused by excluding and biased representation. These often male-dominated mechanisms – e.g. media production hiring practices and party candidate selection committees – mean that women are shut out of the storytelling and policymaking processes, therefore they are not in control of their own narrative and empowerment. A globally representative panel of political leaders, media experts and producers will be asked to discuss why representation matters, and provide examples of initiatives across the media and politics which promote a more diverse and intersectional environment.

Speakers include Sheila Nevins (Executive Producer at MTV Networks), Tanya Saracho (playwright and television writer), H.E Hanna Tetteh (UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union) and Birgitta Ohlsson (Director of Political Parties at the National Democratic Institute and former Swedish MP).

Introduction from Ambassador Kathryn Walt Hall.

Journalist Natasha Del Toro will moderate.

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