IPDC Bureau urges media to better reflect women’s voices

Women comprise less than a quarter of the voices heard or seen in the news media and are more than twice as likely as men to be depicted as victims, according to the latest Global Media Monitoring Project report.

Against this backdrop, the Bureau of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which met from 17 to 18 March in Paris, discussed the need for a shift from gender-sensitivity to gender transformation in project support and implementation.

This discussion underscores the IPDC’s commitment to tackling the striking inequalities between men and women’s representation in the media.

By beginning such a process of reflection, the IPDC, an intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting media development, will be seeking to contribute towards realizing the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly last September.

IPDC already requires all applications for funding to meet gender-awareness criteria, including explicitly stating the number of female versus male beneficiaries. It also supports the application of UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) to measure the degree of gender equality in both the operations and content of selected media outlets around the world.

The shift from mere gender sensitivity to gender transformation promises to move the IPDC towards an unequivocal embrace of UNESCO’s Global Priority Gender Equality. Whereas gender sensitivity only takes into account gender differentials, gender transformation will proactively promote projects that directly challenge the gender inequalities observed. 

An increase in the number of gender-transformative projects supported by the IPDC was already observed in recent years, with their number rising from 14 percent of projects in 2014 to 21 percent in 2015.

The IPDC Bureau decision to consider shifting towards gender transformation places gender equality and women’s empowerment at the centre of its media development agenda.