Lila Lefèvre is clearly a very busy woman. Here is a female journalist bursting with passion who will move heaven and earth to see her project, Nissa TV (lit. "Women TV"), come to life. A television channel entirely dedicated to Euro-Mediterannean women is a complete novelty, says the president of Euromed Audiovisual Productions, and Nissa TV will be entering a very niche market with no competition.
Such a project may seem ambitious, but Lefèvre is adamant: “Every woman in the world can see the underrepresentation of women in the media.”
Women today also struggle to rid themselves of various negative stereotypes, she says. On either side of the Mediterranean women are subordinate to men, they do not share the same the same rights, have lower salaries, and are often mere objects of desire. This leads to a caricature of women, “in the south fully hidden behind a niqab, and in the north only wearing a g-string.”
To break the stereotypes, Nissa TV will present the typically feminine subjects of children, education, health, sexuality, cooking, and beauty, but from a new angle, such as girl’s education or the constraints of fashion.
Beyond these topics, it will bring its Euro-Mediterranean audiences women artists, order and sexuality in nature, women’s public participation throughout history, women politicians, and women resistance fighters.
With discovery and debate as two of its core values, the channel will discuss women’s representation in the media, from ads to television series, and the transmission of feminine values across cultures and generations. It will aim to promote equality between women and men, and to give a voice to women of all social and professional backgrounds -- as well as men -- to further the debate.
All this and more will be available in English, French, and Arabic.
The more you talk to Lefèvre, the more you see her absolute determination to make her project a success. There is a sense urgency in her voice: “Nissa TV will contribute to advancing intercultural dialogue between women of Euro-Mediterranean zone,” which, according to her, is essential to preventing misconceptions.
Already many European Union representatives and foundations working towards the equality of sexes, freedom of expression, and the emancipation of women have given the project their support, she says. Nissa TV is backed by the European People’s Party, the Socialists and Democrats, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, and the Greens, four of the most important political parties at the European Parliament, as well as important personalities within the European Union, including Baroness Catherine Ashton, José Manuel Barroso, Angela Merkel, and Isabelle Durant.
Yet, even with all this support, Nissa TV still needs all the help it can get to hit the ground running: “We are always looking for financial support and private investors so that we can make this dream a reality before the Arab Spring for women.”
Mediterranean women in film and television - More articles: