Getting it right: Gender indicators for newsrooms and news content

Date: May 6, 2011
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The recent International Women’s Media Foundation Global Report on the Status of Women in News Media has found that women are underrepresented or misrepresented in global newsrooms, from Lithuania to Lesotho. Other studies, including the Gender Links Gender and Media Progress Study and Glass Ceilings research have come up with similar conclusions.

Although there is widespread acknowledgement that this gap exists, not all media practitioners know how to amend the problem. That is hopefully about to change.

UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation of journalists from more than 100 countries, last month brought media professionals and academics together in Brussels, Belgium to contribute to a handbook for journalists and media owners. The initiative aims to create a set of indicators for media houses to use in order to help bring about gender equality in news content and in newsroom structures.

“It was a great opportunity to share our knowledge and experience from Southern Africa and apply that at a global level,” said Gender Links Communications Manager Danny Glenwright, who represented the organisation at the meeting. “These indicators are a great first step to ensuring journalists and media houses are thinking about gender at every level.”

The handbook will eventually be printed in English, French and Spanish and launched first with European public service broadcasters and eventually with private and community media. It will feature a series of objectives and strategic indicators so that media houses can perform internal audits to assess gender balance in human resource structures, hiring practices and media content.

Gender Links was one of several representatives invited to the two-day meeting which included journalists and researchers from all over the world. The meeting also included representatives from the International Women’s Media Foundation, the World Association of Christian Communication, Women’s Media Watch Jamaica, the European Women’s Lobby and the European Broadcasting Union.

UNESCO hopes to launch the book by the end of the year. Click here to read the latest newsletter from IFJ:

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