Gender and media

In 2018, half the world’s population was still barely represented in the media. Some statistics: only 10% of news reports are on the subject of women and they are often portrayed as victims; no more than one in five experts interviewed is female; one in four management positions in media is filled by a woman. Fortunately, we are seeing progress, certainly with our partners.

For example, our Syrian media partners developed a gender policy and female journalists now have paid maternity leave. What is also new is the taxi service at two Nepalese newspapers that bring women home if they have to work late in the evening. And Men4Women, that Free Press Unlimited organised for the first time in three countries in 2017, found a response a year later in no fewer than fourteen countries. From Mali to Bangladesh, thousands of male media workers demonstrated for women’s rights and gender equality, online and in real life.

App and quality label

Together with our partners in Nepal, Congo, Somalia, Syria and Mali, we systematically track how media report on women. We do that on the basis of the internationally recognised criteria of the Global Media Monitoring Project. In meetings with the studied media, we then discuss the results and show how things can be done differently. In Nepal, where our partners publish a quarterly gender media monitoring report, women are now getting a lot more cover in two of the nine major newspapers. Our Malian partner, Tuwindi, developed its own app for its monitoring; it works so well that we expanded the app together in 2018. Now there is an online gender media monitoring platform that can be used in several countries. Media can easily collect data and enter it online, and get clear graphs in return. Pilots are now running in Mali, Nepal and DR Congo: to be continued.

Tuwindi found the results of the media monitoring in Mali disappointing – women are mentioned as source in only 12% of all the radio news, and no more than 11% of all the news reports in papers and on the radio are made by women – and decided to develop a quality label. This GIP label (Gender, Independence, Professionalism) is given by the organisation to media that successfully promote gender equality. In this way, Tuwindi hopes to encourage them to do their best, both in terms of content and on the position of women on the work floor.

Training and coaching of female journalists

In Iraq, the number of female photo journalists who that signed up for a coaching program was overwhelming: 137, as compared to less than 40 in 2017. The women were inspired by the impact of the photo stories that the first training programme of our partner Metrography had delivered. The fourteen women who were selected received a four-day long training and then, under supervision, created impressive photo stories about women’s rights, strong women and climate change. Their photos were exhibited at five locations in Iraq as part of Metrography’s annual photo festival, and five women appeared on TV programmes. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve: more visibility and recognition for photo journalism as a profession for women.

The violence of Boko Haram left deep wounds in the lives of the people of Northern Nigeria, and certainly in the lives of girls and women. In October 2018, it was in this region specifically that we initiated a project that illustrates their stories. Our partner PAGED trains young journalists and couples them with experienced colleagues from fifteen media organisations from all over Nigeria. A documentary in which people talk about their lives with this conflict, shown in a mobile cinema, is the starting point for a dialogue in the affected communities and for articles from the journalists.