Centres of Excellence: A first for the south

Centres of Excellence: A first for the south

Date: June 1, 2011
  • SHARE:

Following its extensive work with the media in the last decade, Gender Links is establishing Centres of Excellence (COEs) in gender mainstreaming in both the media and media and journalism training institutions. The media department hosted two parallel meetings from 18 to 20 May 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa with media and journalism educators as well as GL’s media facilitators. The meetings discussed the concept of establishing Media Centres of Excellence in media houses and media training institutions. As Colleen Lowe Morna noted at a Gender In Media Education (GIME) Consultative meeting in 2010: “We need champions in institutional settings. We need to balance having champions and embedding gender in institutional practice. This cannot be left to individuals and to chance.”

The establishment of the media COEs will see GL offering these institutions a full gender mainstreaming package that draws from all research, policy and training conducted in Southern Africa in the last ten years.

This new approach has been partly informed by the results of the 2010 Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS) which showed an apparent lack of movement or improvement in gender within media content. The GMPS found that there was just a two percentage point increase in the proportion of women sources in the last seven years since the 2003 Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS). GL used these findings to reflect on its intervention strategies and how it engages with Southern African media. In particular, GL is reconceptualising its policy work and taking forward the findings of its GIME audit. The GIME report revealed that gender is not mainstreamed in journalism and media training curricula in public institutions in the region.

This new approach will result in a more holistic model for transforming gender relations in and through the media in line with the provisions of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Through this new approach, GL will bring synergy to its work with media, regulatory authorities, citizens and media training institutions. GL recently brought together gender policy facilitators and trainers to plan and contribute to the conceptualisation of the COE concept.

The new COE model comes against the backdrop of global initiatives to create gender equality indicators for the media. The indicators’ initiative, which is being led by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), draws heavily from GL’s media policy work. GL’s work in this field will provide valuable insight on the extent to which media and training institutions in Southern Africa are mainstreaming gender in content and institutional practice. Between 2011 and 2014, GL will work with 100 SADC newsrooms to ensure that each has at least 30% women sources in news content and more women in decision-making positions by 2014. Monitoring and evaluation and on the job support therefore become key components of this process.

A similar approach will be applied to programmes within institutions of higher learning with sustained interventions that bring together curriculum review and development; policy development; capacity building; specific training in gender and media literacy; e-learning courses for trainers; monitoring and evaluation; and the sharing of good practices at the biannual Gender and Media Summit.

There will be close collaboration between institutions of higher learning and in-country media houses that have developed gender policies.

This new initiative will also see GL partnering with SADC Protocol Alliance members for on-the job training as well as monitoring and evaluating progress towards the 2015 targets. To kick-start this initiative, media training institutions will host seminars in order to highlight this new process.


Comment on Centres of Excellence: A first for the south

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *