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African women and media representation

Eliza Anyangwe was working as a journalist at the Guardian when she realized that she did not recognize the African women who appeared as subjects in much of the development reporting she was reading

Eliza Anyangwe was working as a journalist at the Guardian when she realized that she did not recognize the African women who appeared as subjects in much of the development reporting she was reading.

In a sector where reporters and NGOs alike often fall back on a binary worldview – in which an African woman can either be a local hero pulling her community out of poverty or a victim of external forces such as war and climate change, but never anything in between – she felt that their complexity as human beings was being left out.

Anyangwe says this hero-or-victim dichotomy creates a world in which African women are not able to tell their own stories, and that public understanding suffers as a result.

“I think that as journalists, we are living in a world now where we have to decide: What is the point of this work that I’m doing?” she says. “We don’t need more material, we don’t need more content, we need meaning. People are trying to understand what’s going on.” – Source Guardian

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