On 28 September 2018, a public roundtable session about “Challenging Gender inequality in the Audiovisual Sector in the Mediterranean” took place at Casa Mediterráneo, Alicante, Spain, as the closing event of a two-day training session for the second call sub-grantees of the project “SouthMed WiA – Towards Greater Gender Equality: Promoting the Role and Image of Women in the Southern Mediterranean Audiovisual Sector”.

The public session featured Spanish and Southern Mediterranean experts and prominent public figures within the audiovisual sector, debating on the representation of women in the media and the role of audiovisual output to convey socially transformational content.

Ignasi Guardans, CUMEDIAE Chairman and CEO, moderated the roundtable, composed by Mercedes Giovinazzo, Director of Fundació Interarts, Pilar Perez Solano, Producer, Scriptwriter, Movie Director, and representative of CIMA, Dima Al-Joundi, Producer and Director, Crystal Films, and Fayrouz Karawya, Egyptian singer, songwriter, record producer and representative of the second call subgranted project “Gender Representation in the Egyptian Media

Javier Hergueta, Director of Casa Mediterráneo, opened the Public Session underlining the importance of tackling gender inequality. Mercedes Giovinazzo took the floor the SouthMed WiA project and the consortium’s efforts (led by Interarts) to enhance the women participation in the audiovisual sector, both in front of the screen and behind it, as well as the desire to create a network of Southern Mediterranean professionals in this field. She stressed that “It is of primary importance the collaboration between SouthMed countries, rather than a cooperation between North and South Mediterranean areas.”

Dima Al-Joundi provided her personal opinion through concrete examples of experiences and advised that gender inequality has to be combated by educating mothers first, because chauvinism is something that males learn during their early stages of development. She highlighted that women power in the audiovisual society may actually be just for appearances since the majority of executive producers are men and the male perspective is still the prevailing perspective. Faryouz Karawya spoke of the difficult environment in some SouthMed countries, such as Egypt, in which the sexual harassment is still a daily problem. This causes a major problem and makes the women empowerment harder to achieve. “Egyptian women are not free to walk in the streets, not only to produce film”. Pilar Pérez Solano asserted that the female perspective is essential as women represent half the population, saying what is expected is a real gender equality.

After the debate, the public session gave the possibility to the audience to speak and address questions to the Roundtable.  At the end of the session, there was an Apéro and audience members exchanged ideas and opinions on this subject. Alicante Plaza, our media partner for this Public Session, wrote an article highlighting the main topics discussed.