Gender and Media

In 2017, we worked hard with our partners to promote gender equality, both in media organisations and in the content that media produce. Partners in countries like Mali, Somalia, Nepal and Syria systematically recorded the extent to which women were represented in newspapers and radio programmes. And in what role: as housewife or as economics specialist?

In Nepal, media partner Freedom Forum publishes a gender media monitoring report (newspapers, online news platforms and social media) every three months and discusses it with representatives from different media. In that way, it emphasises the importance of hearing more from women in the media. One of the most remarkable results was that the absolute laggard in the rankings at the end of 2016, used the most female sources in its columns in the first quarter of 2017. The partners looked critically at themselves: in 2017 they established a gender policy, employed more women and provided separate toilets for men and women at the office.

Gender equality in practice

Gender media monitoring is a permanent item in DR Congo, since our partner UCOFEM first reported on it in 2016 for Free Press Unlimited. In 2017, 80 journalists, 72 of whom were women, receive a technical training and learned to make programmes in which women have an equal role. One of our partners put together a guide of more than 4,000 female experts who can be consulted by Congolese media.

Gender equality is not going as smoothly in Pakistan. Particularly in the ‘medialess’ regions where women are subject to many restrictions in daily life, it is difficult to find or train female journalists. But our Pakistani partners keep trying, for example, by setting a quota for training courses. All the partners have formulated their own gender policy: it is now important to put it into practice.

In Nigeria we started a pilot to get more women in leading media roles. Fifteen female journalists were given a three-day training in management, journalism skills and gender equality at the work place. Every female journalist was assigned a mentor to help her put what she had learned into practice. The women are determined to share their knowledge with their colleagues: how can you publish respectfully about women?