Gender and Media

Gender and Media

On 8 March 2016, Free Press Unlimited took International Women’s Day as an occasion to present its new gender equality policy. We explicitly do not view this issue as just another box that needs to be ticked within our projects. Unfortunately, the intimidation and discrimination of women is just as much a problem in the media sector as it is in other industries. Two-thirds of the world’s female journalists have been harassed in the workplace at some point – usually by one of their colleagues or managers. And close to three-quarters of the managerial positions in the sector are occupied by men.

Furthermore, despite the feminist efforts of the past, in many of the countries that we are active in, local media almost exclusively portray women as housewives, victims or models. As soon the programme calls for an expert opinion, women literally drop out of the picture. That is why in 2016, we worked together with our partners to examine the state of gender equality in their organisation and media channels. How many people are found in their ranks, in which positions, and how are they remunerated? And how often do their articles or items pay attention to women in non-traditional roles?

The media can open men and women’s eyes – particularly when it comes to discriminatory practices and their consequences. Our objective in the longer term is to ensure that local media actively promote gender equality. And that they invest in the increased participation of women and a greater decision-making role for this group both in and via the media. This corresponds with the second ‘interim goal’ in our Theory of Change: Media serve the interest of the public, and act as a watchdog on their behalf.