Consensus reached on Geneva Framework on Gender and Media International Development Cooperation

On 7 and 8 December 2015 stakeholders including Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) members, UN organizations, high-level government representatives, regional and international development organizations, private sector, media organizations and civil society organizations gathered at Palais des Nations in Geneva to dialogue about the necessity of international development cooperation on gender and media.

This meeting was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Government of Greece, GAMAG, ITU, UN Women, OHCHR and other UN organizations.

Over 200 participants from 65 countries actively engaged in discussions covering subjects and challenges related to media and gender through a series of high-level plenary sessions and thematic round tables.

Stakeholders unanimously agreed on the Geneva Framework on Gender and Media International Development Cooperation.

Mr Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, in his opening statement noted that “The equal participation of women and girls in media communication and communication technologies at all levels is indispensable for their empowerment.” He called on all stakeholders to reach into their “deep inner resolve” to build on the consensus which could lead to a new paradigm for gender equality in the media.  

The Geneva Framework provides a basis for cooperation among international donors, foundations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, private sector organizations, including the media industry and civil society.

Ms Nanette Braun, UN Women, emphasized the importance of partnership with the media industry, saying “Dialogue with the media should be in the media”. Other recommendations included finding a strategic link between policy and research on gender and media in collaboration with media and technology industries.

The meeting facilitated a rich dialogue among representatives from different cultural backgrounds and from all regions of the world. Dr Mostefa Souag, Acting Director-General of Al Jazeera, emphasized the importance of pursuing an equal rights policy for female and male journalists so that women and men are employed based on competence and not gender. He especially pointed to women correspondents employed by Al Jazeera and are working in war zones.  

Christiane Amanpour in a video message said, “When women have an equal role in the board rooms, in the executive suites, and determine alongside men, what is going to be covered, who is going to be covered, what theme is going to be covered, what is going to be represented, that will shift the dynamics, and shift the dialogue. We need to reach a tipping point. We need to reach that point where there is momentum to propel our world, our whole world to equality, parity, to justice...”

For gender equality in the media that tipping point is now. To make a commitment to the Geneva Framework on Gender and Media International Development Cooperation or to announce a related initiative, please complete the form on this link.   

During the event, the Gender, Media and ICT’s University Network (UNITWIN) was launched with an agreement signing ceremony by National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO. Ten other universities representing all region of the world will be involved.

The university network together with the research committee of GAMAG will promote evidence-based policy development that can stir urgent actions on gender equality in the media and technology industries.  Indeed urgent actions are needed, as Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief, International Telecommunication Union posited “It will be the year 2083, at current rates of progress, before we see equal numbers of male and female heads of ICT regulatory agencies.”

According to the Global Media Monitoring Report 2015 carried out by the World Association of Christian Communication and supported by UNESCO and UN Women, it will take 77 years to reach gender equality in the media at the present rate.

At the event, a Greek Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on media and information literacy, an international audiovisual authority network on gender and media and planned follow-up to the Global Media Monitoring Project were announced at the Meeting.

The OECD Development Centre presented an innovative initiative, the Wikigender platform, which is designed to accumulate and share gender related data.

2016 will be the first year of the implementation of the sustainable development goals. UNESCO, ITU, UN WOMEN, OHCHR, WMO and all other partners will be taking steps to broaden the dialogue and commitment to ensure that Geneva Framework on Gender and Media International Development Cooperation materializes into concrete actions with measurable impact. Join us!

Ms Colleen Lowe Morna, Chair of GAMAG International Steering Committee and CEO of Gender Links in her closing remarks aptly summed it up, “… we need two things going forward: resources, and resourcefulness! We live in difficult times… We simply cannot go to donors hat in hand and expect to be bailed out. There is a great deal of in-kind support that GAMAG members can and already are offering.”  She further noted that a second requirement is for more resources to be dedicated to support the global thrust for gender equality in and through the media. 

The event was followed by the first General Assembly of GAMAG which was held from 9-10 December 2015. Please visit our website for more information.