Women leaders in New Zealand, Germany, and elsewhere have set a standard for coping with COVID while strongmen in other countries balk at basic steps such as wearing masks. In addition, women scientists have published fewer papers than their male peers as they shoulder extra household burdens, domestic violence victims, who are mostly women are forced to shelter with their abusers and women make up the majority frontline health workers. In ways big and small, COVID has uncovered disparities that illustrate how much more we must do to achieve gender equality as envisioned under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5. What role can men play in redefining gender stereotypes and reducing gender disparities? What changes are needed and what might be possible as COVID forces us to address these gender disparities? How can we redefine masculinity in the time of COVID-19 and help redefine gender stereotypes? The Aspen Global Innovators Group on Thursday, August 27th at 11am ET was joined by New Voices Fellow Harish Sadani Co-Founder and Chief Functionary, Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) and Rachel Jones a contributor for National Geographic Magazine, a Development Media Consultant and a two-time Top 10 Media Writer on LinkedIn. This conversation was moderated by Sarika Bansal, an editor and storyteller, most recently as the founder and editor-in-chief of BRIGHT Magazine.
Harish is among India’s leading gender rights activists. A social worker by training, he has been working tirelessly for over the past 26 years to educate men about improving women’s sexual and reproductive health. Harish co-founded MAVA – Men Against Violence and Abuse – in 1993 to prevent gender-based violence of women and to engage boys and men on healthy relationships, masculinity, and sexuality. He is a pioneering male advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights, deeply aware of India’s persistent gender inequity and the responsibility of all citizens to change the narrative for future generations.
Rachel is a contributor for National Geographic Magazine, a Development Media Consultant and a two-time Top 10 Media Writer on LinkedIn. Jones, who has reported for National Public Radio, Knight Ridder News Service, and the Detroit Free Press, also served as Project Director for the Internews Network’s Gulu, Uganda Radio Training Center from June 2007 to February 2008. Jones helped train and mentor five-dozen Ugandan reporters and editors, covering issues including health, education and child welfare following more than two decades of civil war in Northern Uganda.
Jones was posted to Kenya in July 2008 through the Knight Health Fellowship Program of the International Center for Journalists. She was based with Nation Media Group, the largest media company in East and Central Africa. In August 2010, Jones was awarded an International Public Engagement Grant from the UK’s Wellcome Trust, which she used to create the one-year Kenyan Alliance of Health and Science Reporters project. As Director, Jones organized week-long training workshops and regional briefings for Kenyan reporters.
From Dec. 2013 to May 2014, Jones advised UNICEF Kenya and the Polio Advocacy Working Group partners in developing a communications strategy. From October 2014 to September 2015, Jones served as Editor/Stringer Coordinator for Voice of America’s “South Sudan in Focus” nightly radio broadcast.
Currently based in Washington, D.C., Jones has worked as a media consultant for the U.K.-based Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases coalition and Malaria No More UK. In 2019, Jones produced features about maternal mortality and the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo for National Geographic Magazine, and is currently reporting for the magazine’s digital platform. She also works with The Aspen Institute as a media trainer for their Healthy Communities and New Voices Fellowship programs.
Sarika Bansal is an editor and storyteller, most recently as the founder and editor-in-chief of BRIGHT Magazine. She has been a journalist for a decade, largely focused on global health, gender, and education. Her byline has appeared in the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Guardian, VICE, Forbes, FastCompany, and other publications.