Describing itself as ‘A Different Perspective on Information’, SEMlac (Latin American and Caribbean Women’s News Service) is a non-profit organisation based in Lima. It dates back to 1978 when SEMlac (and its English version Women’s Feature Service) was established in Lima with the backing of UNESCO and Inter Press Service as an initiative of the Women’s Decade. Its aim was to ‘encourage women to write and help them to create their own space in the media’. Compiled by women correspondents it sought to ‘give a voice to the women of Asia, Africa and Latin America to write about the economic, social and political situation in their countries’.
During the 1994 Population and Development Summit in Cairo, SEM, as it was then called, was the only women’s network which published a daily bulletin throughout the eight days of the conference.
Currently, in addition to its lively website, SEMlac publishes a weekly news digest, a weekly report on Cuba (in Spanish and English), two annual special reports (the most recent on transsexualism) and runs training workshops for journalists and public sector workers.
SEMLA-Cuba also publishes a regular review titled ‘Gender and Communication’. The latest issue (No. 2 2012) carries articles on gender and race in Cuban television and in activist blogs; sexism on TV; violence against women in the press; and an article by Mexican artist Mónica Mayer on feminism and art.