More women in Nepalese media through gender monitoring

In Nepal, woman are almost invisible in the media. If Nepalese media want to represent society as a whole, they should also look at the state of gender equality in their own publications. Our partner, Freedom Forum, helps them with this using the Free Press Unlimited gender media monitoring method.

In Nepalese media, the names of female journalists are often not mentioned with their articles. Women also rarely appear as experts on television or in the newspaper. This distorted reflection of society means women feel unheard and are unable to see positive role models for themselves in the media. If media wish to stand up for the interests of women and girls, they should ensure that women are no longer ignored within their own ranks and in the reporting.

Since 2016, Freedom Forum has therefore been monitoring the content of nine major national newspapers, seven provincial newspapers and five opinion websites on a weekly basis. The organisation investigates the image they portray of women, by scanning by-lines, sources and photos.

More by-lines

Every three months, Freedom Forum sends a report of its findings to the media it has examined. However, it goes further than just a report: our partner also organises discussions with chief editors, government officials and civil society organisations about the representation of women, both in the content and on the work floor.

Initially, some chief editors were angry about the conclusions of the monitoring. However, there were soon results: slowly but surely the number of by-lines for women is increasing. ‘We are pleasantly surprised with the changes we are seeing,’ says Freedom Forum’s gender monitoring officer, Nanu Maiya Khadka.

According to Freedom Forum, in 2018, more women also appeared in Nepalese media, as author and as source. And the discussions initiated by our partner about women in the media had another effect: two newspapers, Kantipur and Republica, are now providing transport to and from work for their female employees. This means it is also safe for women to work late shifts in the editing room. An important added advantage: now they can also make the ‘hard’ news items about politics and the economy, because in Nepal, those issues are often discussed in the evening.

Female leadership

There’s no doubt that there is still a lot of work to do. In the provincial media monitored by Freedom Forum, between July and September 2018, no more than 14% of all by-lines were for female journalists. It was also mainly men who were cited as sources in articles – only 16% were women. One way to make the tide to turn faster, is to get more women to the top. For that reason, Free Press Unlimited is initiating a training programme for female leadership in Nepalese media in 2019.

Since: 2016
Donor: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Contribution: € 88,500

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