Arts, Culture, and Humanities

International Womens Media Foundation

aka IWMF

Washington, DC


Since 1990, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. We seek to ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, recognized and rewarded for their vital contributions at all levels of the news media. As a result, consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives as a cornerstone of democracy and free expression.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Elisa Lees Muñoz

Main Address

1625 K Street NW Suite 1275

Washington, DC 20006 USA


international, women, media, foundation, africa, press, press freedom, leadership, journalism, training, agriculture, news media, reporting, research, network





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Censorship, Freedom of Speech and Press Issues (R63)

Women's Rights (R24)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

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Our Sustainable Development Goals

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Courage in Journalism Awards

Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

IWMF Emergency Fund

Adelante: Latin America Reporting Initiative

Fund for Women Journalists

Reporting Grants for Women's Stories

Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship

Research Initiatives

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

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What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

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What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Since 1990, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. As a result, we believe that consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives, which is a cornerstone of democracy and free expression. The IWMF's Global Report on the Status of Women in News Media, the only worldwide study showing how women fare in the news industry, revealed that gender inequity is a pervasive, worldwide problem, and that this situation has not changed significantly in the last decade. Our research of more than 500 news agencies in 60 countries showed that men hold nearly two-thirds of reporting jobs and three-quarters of the top management positions across the industry. The consequences of this imbalance affects the news that is produced and consumed around the world – fewer women journalists, editors and publishers typically also means fewer women are the sources or subjects of the news that affects them. We aim to achieve gender equity in the news media worldwide. Since our founding, the IWMF has worked tirelessly to amplify women's voices, challenging the status quo of gender inequity in the news industry and endeavoring to counter the pervasive, global marginalization of women's voices. The IWMF has been the standard-bearer and leading force on these issues, at the forefront of the unfulfilled quest to achieve women's equality in the news media.

The IWMF has developed local, regional and global networks of journalists with expertise reporting on a wide range of critical issues, including women's and LGBTI rights, migration, health, the environment, civil society, governance, rural development, agriculture and food security. Through the group reporting opportunities and independent reporting grants, the IWMF is enhancing and directly facilitating production of much needed coverage of under-reported topics and regions. As a result, we are reshaping mainstream media narratives, especially in our current areas of focus – Latin America and Africa's Great Lakes region.

In addition, the IWMF has enabled reporting on specialized issues in complex environments. For example, we have organized reporting trips around phosphate extraction in Western Sahara; women's roles in peace and development in Choco, Colombia; reproductive rights in El Salvador; and wildlife conservation in Eastern DRC. We also have a long history of offering investigative reporting training, facilitating the production of in-depth series. All of our programs incorporate best practices for gender-sensitive reporting, journalism ethics, techniques for interviewing traumatized sources, safety training, and access to key experts on specific topics to be covered.

We provide training and mentorship for emerging and marginalized journalists, helping them to build skills needed to advance their careers, and fund reporting that otherwise would not be produced due to newsroom budgetary constraints. In addition, we work with editors and media influencers to secure their buy-in from each project's inception, increasing the likelihood that they will run stories produced by our program participants. In all of our programs, we include a diverse mix of senior and emerging, rural and urban, and affiliated and freelance journalists, which creates a powerful peer learning and mentorship network, whose members share opportunities and promote each other's work.

As a lean organization with a global footprint, the IWMF prioritizes partnerships to maximize our impact. Our current partnerships include: World Press Photo Foundation to enhance support for women photojournalists; Instagram to amplify photojournalists' work while on location for reporting fellowships; Native Agency to support women photojournalists in Latin America as part of our Adelante reporting initiative; The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at UT Austin to deliver online training resources for journalists in Latin America; and media partnerships with outlets including News Deeply, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Texas Standard/KUT Austin, Deutsche Welle and Glamour. The IWMF is also an active member of the A Culture of Safety (ACOS) Alliance, working to advance journalist security and the Journalists in Distress (JID) Network, a group of 18 organizations including the IWMF who provide emergency assistance for journalists in crisis.

The IWMF has a nearly 30-year track record of success supporting and advancing women journalists globally. Our Board of Directors and Advisory Committee includes numerous media luminaries who help guide the organization's strategic growth, budget and programs. The Board is led by: Linda Douglass (co-Chair) is the global head of communications for Bloomberg Washington DC. Prior to that, she was Senior Vice President for Global Communications at Atlantic Media, where she managed communications and messaging for all divisions of the company. She also served as the lead moderator for The Atlantic’s “Women of Washington” series, where she did in-depth interviews with high-profile women leaders in government, media and business before live audiences in Washington D.C. Before working in government and politics, Douglass had a long career as a journalist. Bryan Monroe (co-Chair) is the Verizon Chair professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication (SMC). He is the former editor of Monroe is a former president of NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists. Also, while at Knight-Ridder in 2005, he helped lead the team in Biloxi, MS, that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The IWMF is staffed by a team of 15 committed professionals with significant experience in journalism, human rights and international development, including: Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director, has more than 20 years' experience in human rights, freedom of the press, and gender equality issues. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a master's degree in International Relations. Before joining the IWMF as Director of Programs, she led the Crimes of War Education Project, was an election monitor for the OSCE in the Balkans, and monitored the human rights of scientists for AAAS. Nadine Hoffman, Deputy Director, is responsible for supporting the Executive Director, and for developing and implementing the organization's programs. She has more than 10 years of experience managing international programs and began her career as a journalist. Hoffman holds a master's degree in journalism from Emerson College and a bachelor's degree in English from Gettysburg College. She also completed a human rights law certificate program at American University's Washington College of Law. Charlotte Fox, Communications Director, is responsible for developing and implementing the organization's communications strategy. Charlotte is a tireless advocate of gender equity across all industries and geographies, with a lifelong passion for the news. After beginning her career in reputation management, she focused on creating awareness and driving demand for organizations within the education, health policy and women’s issues industries. Charlotte directed communications at three Washington-based agencies prior to joining the IWMF, most recently as a Vice President for MSL.

The IWMF monitors and evaluates program impact, outputs and outcomes using a variety of tools. In all of our programs, we use surveys and evaluations to collect participant feedback and testimonials; this input is reviewed regularly by staff, enabling us to make adjustments in real time. We also conduct an annual survey of all our constituents to better understand how participating in our programs has supported their career development. Participant feedback is a key consideration in our program design process. It enables us to be responsive to their needs in the context of the quickly evolving media industry.

We track story outputs of our fellows and grantees across all programs, monitoring the quality and number of stories produced. When running in-country journalism training programs, we conduct a baseline assessment of the participants' skills, tracking their progress over time through an analysis of their reporting. We also track diversity across all programs through the application and selection process to ensure that we provide opportunities to the broadest cross-section of constituents possible.

We know we are making progress when the journalists we support build their portfolios, and advance in their careers as a result of our programs; when underreported issues receive coverage in international media outlets, leading to greater awareness and better informed societies; and when our constituents report that they are able to do their jobs more safely because of training and assistance we provided.

We have supported thousands of journalists worldwide, tangibly advancing women in the news media through our programs, grants and awards. At present, we award more than $400,000 annually to women journalists in grants and emergency assistance. Our grants support educational opportunities, investigative reporting and media development opportunities for women journalists around the world. We offer more than a dozen reporting fellowships per year in 12 countries (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, El Salvador, Mexico, Mexico-U.S. border, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia) as part of our multi-year initiatives in Africa and Latin America.

Hundreds of our reporting fellows' stories and images have been published or aired by leading international news outlets including The New York Times, National Geographic, Marketplace, PBS NewsHour, Businessweek, Foreign Policy, Univision, The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, and Agencia EFE.

There is still a long way to go to achieve gender equity in the news media worldwide. Women continue to face harassment and discrimination, unequal pay, and numerous other obstacles.

External Reviews


International Womens Media Foundation

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?