CSW59: Gender equality in 700 years?!

CSW59: Gender equality in 700 years?!

Date: May 13, 2015
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New York, 13 March: At a CSW59 session called, “Women and the Media: Advancing Critical Area of Concern J* of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”, held yesterday at the UN headquarters yesterday, Geena Davis- Academy Award-Winning Actor and Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media said, “To achieve gender equality the enormous impact the media has on our unconscious biases that impact both men and women needs to be addressed immediately.”

Davis has been research on gender representations in entertainment and children’s media over the last few years and found that in children’s films, there are profoundly fewer female characters and the representations of them are very problematic, stereotypical and hypersexualised. “If we added female characters at the rate we have been for the past 20 years, we will achieve gender parity in 700 years,” Davis added.

The event was hosted by UNESCO and UN WOMEN, in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG)- a pioneering network of over 500 media, non-governmental as well as governmental organisations. The purpose of the session was to give momentum to global efforts to promote gender equality in and through the media and contribute to the discussion in the context of the 20-year review the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action during the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

GAMAG is demanding that the SDGs include a goal on media and ICTs and their gender dimensions; a stand- alone target on gender and the media under Goal Five – gender equality; and that the indicators on freedom of expression in Goal 16 include gender indicators.

Collen Lowe Morna, Gender Links CEO and Chair of GAMAG said that the missing gender and media targets in draft SDGs must be addressed, saying, “These are not side issues that we can address ‘by the way’. We would do well to bring Section J right to the centre of our debates here in New York.”

Discussing gender stereotypes, and gender blindness in reporting, Matt Winkler- Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg emphasised the need for active interventions and strong leadership in newsrooms. “The only way to address the unconscious bias is to consciously make sure that the people making the news judgements about the language that is used in reporting are made by people of both genders. Gender balanced media requires a whole set of policies, prescriptions and goals to get to the next level.”

Head of UN WOMEN, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that dismantling patriarchy over the next 15 years must be a priority, “In 2020 we must have made significant progress, we must be sure our countries have put on the table game changing initiatives.”

Listen to Geena Davis’s full speech here.

This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of CSW59 currently underway at the UN headquarters in New York, bringing you fresh views on everyday news.


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