EWL News

Belgium: Auwch Award for sexist journalist!

[NVR, Brussels, 28 February 2013] Two and a half years ago, the Dutch-speaking Council of Women of Belgium installed an award for the most sexist statement, attitude or measure of the year.

Everybody can nominate a person, organization or institution. Just surf to www.auwchaward.be.
Management and staff decide as to whether or not the nomination meets the conditions.
During a period of two weeks people can vote for the nominee they prefer to see ‘rewarded’. The winner is paid a visit and is handed the award.

In January 2012 the winner was the author of a very sexist novel: a woman writing under a male pseudonym. All she wanted was free publicity. To this end she shamelessly abused our award.

This year the winner was a male journalist working for the paper De Standaard. In one of his columns he had offended elderly women. He received most of the votes because of his eagerness to win. He had made sure all his friends, acquaintances and readers voted for him by begging them to do so in his column.

The second edition of the Auwch Award has been a highly discussed topic during more than a week. Papers, magazines, television and radio programs, they all paid attention to it and asked for different opinions. It came down to the Dutch-speaking Council of Women being a bunch of old feminists without a sense of humor. We were slaughtered by the Dutch-speaking press, not in the least by some female journalists. It was a threat to the women’s movement and its reasons for existence.

But, as a result of all this commotion, we reached a very important goal: the Auwch Award has become a known brand and the debate on sexism has been reopened. People already talk about the next edition. Certain persons would like nothing else but to win. Our new president, Magda De Meyer, has been invited several times for interviews (papers, radio and television programs) to clarify the concept of the Auwch Award and to rectify some misunderstandings.

In any case, the Auwch Award will not be removed from our list of events and activities. All the commotion made perfectly clear that sexism is alive and kicking. We will revise and change the procedure as we see fit in order to protect the award.

By Anne Rowie, Communicatiemedewerker, Nederlanstalige Vrouwenraad

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