The IWMF Launches New Programs Focused on Leadership and Safety for Women Journalists

Mentorship and trainings will elevate and protect women journalists in the U.S.

[April 10, 2019 – AUSTIN, TX] – In advance of the International Symposium of Online Journalism (ISOJ), the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) announced the launch of two new programs that focus on leadership advancement and the safety of women who report the news. These programs were created following a $1M grant in equitable reporting from CBS and funding from the Knight Foundation, and include meaningful curricula that will help to protect, prepare and promote women journalists.

To address professional development and leadership training, the IWMF is thrilled to debut its Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program, which kicks-off today, and will tackle the lack of diversity and women in newsroom leadership roles in the U.S. Fellows within the program will be guided, and paired, with a cadre of skilled professionals in news from underrepresented backgrounds, laying the groundwork for future success and equal representation.

The Gwen Ifill Mentorship Program leadership team includes the following industry luminaries:

  • Athelia Knight, Georgetown University
  • Doug Mitchell, NPR
  • Emma Carew Grovum, Newsroom Consultant and Diversity Advocate
  • Karen Toulon, Bloomberg
  • Juleyka Lantigua Williams, Lantigua Williams & Co.
  • Kim Bui, The Arizona Republic
  • Suzanne Malveaux, CNN

To further bolster the safety of women journalists, the IWMF is also launching a two-year series of Hostile Environment and First Aid Trainings (HEFATs). These intensive, complex and rewarding exercises will help women in the U.S. to better report from increasingly difficult locations in the U.S. and around the world. The trainings will also include digital safety support and protocol development. To-date, the IWMF has provided 40 free HEFATs to nearly 582 women journalists, which equates to a $1.7 million-dollar value for journalists around the world.

“In order to elevate women to the positions they deserve in the newsroom, it’s essential to give them access to mentorship and skills development from diverse leaders,” says Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. “Whether it’s a newsroom, a conflict zone or a laptop, the safety of women journalists is a critical component to the equitable reporting of the news. With these two new programs, the IWMF continues to work toward breaking the barriers that exist for women in news around the world.”

The IWMF is leading a pre-conference workshop on Thursday, April 11 – “Strategies to Confront Online Violence: Female Journalists Cultivating Resilience & Building Community” – at ISOJ from 9 AM—5 PM CST to discuss the risks that women journalists face online. To learn more, stay tuned to ISOJ and the IWMF on social media for alerts from the event.


About the International Women’s Media Foundation

Founded in 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for female journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.


Media Contact:
Charlotte Fox
Director of Communications
(202) 567-2615