The publication “Women representation in media”, which deals with the representation of gender issues in the Albanian media, was released on 1 March 2014. The report, written by Linda Meniku from the University of Tirana, was financed within the framework of the Government of Albania-UN Programme of Cooperation 2012-2016 with the support of the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).
UNESCO, in cooperation with the major media stakeholders, has developed a set of indicators to assess gender equality and women’s empowerment in media. The Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) seek to address the intersection of women’s empowerment and media development. Their main focus is on the equality and gender dimensions of social diversity in the media.
While inequalities and gender stereotypes exist in social structures and in the minds of people, the media have the potential to propagate, perpetuate and to ameliorate these misconceptions. Furthermore, the conscious or unconscious biases that many media professionals, both men and women, sometimes have towards one-sidedly reductionist perspectives are partially due to the lack of capacity and available tools to report on gender sensitivity in the media.
Media today can construct femininity and masculinity and gender relations. Media texts are perceived to be one of the prime cultural sites through which it is possible to study the position of women in society. This is where our society presents itself publicly, defines our identity, establishes the parameters of consensus and relegates what is perceived as unconventional to the margins.
With this in mind, Prof. Linda Meniku, a lecturer of linguistics at the Faculty of History and Philology, University of Tirana, and head representative of the American Councils for International Education and member of the Albanian Fulbright Alumni Association (AFAA), undertook an exploratory study concerning the changes in gender relations and the transformation in gender representation in the media due to the changes in Albanian society.
Linda Meniku’s report provides an updated analysis on the equal participation of women and men as reflected in the structure of the Albanian society; their points of view and their concerns as they are presented in the news; a portrayal of women and men; a media coverage of gender equality issues as an important part of the role of media as observer of society; and, the indicators of gender awareness in the content of editorials and in different fields of studies.
The headlines and the content of the Albanian print and broadcast media documenting the news reports and the news programmes were analyzed in the report. Its main objective was to study how women are subject of news, current events and politics, and depicted on television and in print media. The study dealt with complex issues such as the degree of female presence in different genres and the way they are presented.
The news reports selected and analyzed were collected during a 3-month period, from October through December 2013. The material used was the internet and the paper editions of 6 major Albanian newspapers: Gazeta shqiptare, Mapo, Panorama, Shekulli, Shqiptarja.com, Shqip, as well as the television news reports and talk shows of: Top Channel, TV Klan, A1 Report, and Ora News.
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The Government of Albania - UN Programme of Cooperation 2012-2016 operationalizes the programme presented in the UN Common Country Programme Document for Albania, 2012-2016, and it provides a legal framework for its implementation as well as additional information on matters such as partnership strategies, management arrangements, monitoring and evaluation and resource mobilization.
UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau in Venice, is one of the non-resident UN agencies that contributes strategically to Albania’s development priorities and towards enhancing women’s empowerment. Within the framework of the GOA-UN Programme, the UNESCO Venice Office is implementing various activities related to gender equality in the media and in science.