Southern Africa: Calling for gender and media provisions in the sustainable development goals

Date: February 27, 2015
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Johannesburg 27 February: Just a week before the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) kicks off at the United Nations in New York on 9 March, Gender Links and the Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) are hosting a seminar to review media’s position in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They also aim to chart a position on media’s role in advancing effective communication on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ) rights in Africa. The GMDC is concerned about the absence of a stand-alone goal and accompanying targets on gender and media in the draft SDGs, as well as specific targets on non-discrimination in the media.

Gender Links and the GMDC is hosting a consultative workshop and seminar to revive the conversation about progress made in Southern Africa to achieve gender equality in and through the media. The workshop will consult with activists and organisations working to advance equal rights for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, in order to share good practice on gender responsive and inclusive reporting.

The first meeting on Monday 2 March will see Gender Links partnering with LGBTIQ rights activists to discuss the key media and LGBTIQ concerns. The purpose of this meeting is to highlight the major barriers to LGBTIQ communication rights, and to agree on intervention strategies for advancing inclusive and non-discriminatory media practice. Currently, there is very little research on media’s coverage of LGBTIQ rights and few strategies are in place to ensure fair representation. Following this consultative process, Gender Links will, for the first time, monitor mainstream media’s coverage of LGBTIQ issues, which will inform advocacy initiatives in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa.

In order to gauge the progress media has made in mainstreaming gender in coverage and practice, gender and media activists from 13 SADC countries will gather at the Gender Links Cottages from 3-4 March, to discuss media monitoring methodologies to measure performance-seven years after the historic signing of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The Protocol, which expires at the end of the year, calls on media and related bodies to mainstream gender in their laws, codes of practice and content. This year’s Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS) will focus on measuring gender in media coverage, institutional practice as well as gender in journalism and media education.

Gender, media and LGBTIQ activists attending the GMPS methodology meeting will also explore ways to engage the relevant United Nations and CSW bodies on the inclusion of a stand-alone goal on gender and the media, which GL and the GMDC will take up in New York.

This year is crucial for advancing human rights as well as achieving gender equality in the media. 2015 not only marks the expiry of the SADC Gender Protocol and the MDGs, but also twenty years of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA), which identified media as one of the critical areas of concern in the quest for gender equality. This signals the urgency for developing a stronger and more inclusive post-2015 agenda, and renewed SADC Gender Protocol.

The BPFA remains a key advocacy tool to ensure decision makers include gender and media in global discourse. Furthermore, activists have noted that none of the existing global and regional instruments include provisions for LGBTIQ rights. This is an especially important time to consult and strategise, since the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) is also charting an advocacy strategy around re-positioning section J of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) as a key instrument in guiding gender and media interventions globally.

The time is now to advance gender equality in and through the media! Yes we must!

For more information contact:

Sikhonzile Ndlovu: Media Programme Manager:
Katherine Robinson: Editor & Communications Manager:

Phone: 011 622 2877011 622 2877


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