Training: Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media
The aim of the Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) is to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through media of all forms, irrespective of the technology used.
Through their use and application, these Indicators seek to enhance the capacity of reporters, media managers/executives, media organisations, and citizens’ media groups to reduce stereotypical representation of women in media, and to mainstream gender equality considerations into their policies and practices. While training is of key importance, real and progressive change in non-stereotypical representation of women will not be accelerated without the complementary policy requirements put in place.
The GSIM were developed by UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists and many other partners, on the basis of various consultations.
Media organisations have considerable power to shape a society’s experience of diversity by reporting upon the concerns of different groups in society and providing them with a platform to gain visibility and be heard. Yet the media can also engender discrimination by strengthening stereotypes or excluding certain groups from public discourse. For many years now, UNESCO has been contributing to a range of gender-specific activities in the media space. The two perspectives related to this field, namely equality between women and men working in the media and equality in news reporting on women and men, are of equal importance and are being stridently pursued.
The transition experienced by Africa, with the recent liberalization of the media space, has been marked by the expansion of audiovisual, written and online media organisations. This demand for freedom of expression and information has generated debates on a variety of issues which, until then, had been taboo or ignored. The concept of gender equality is one of them.
However, despite the strong involvement of women in the socio-economic and political changes in Africa, their status in the media remains a matter of concern – low visibility, little or no presence at decision-making levels, stereotypical representations, etc.
From 21 to 24 October 2016, representatives from 25 French-speaking national broadcasters from Africa met from 21 to 24 October 2016 for a training on the application of UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media. Through this event, the Organisation sought to strengthen media pluralism and the adoption of gender-sensitive policies in African broadcasting organisations.
Speakers included representatives of partners such as the International Organisation of La Francophonie, the African Union of Broadcasting, Morocco’s High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, UN Women, and Host Broadcast Services. They shared their experience and knowledge during thematic sessions and engaged in discussions with the participants.
After examining the application of the Gender-Sensitive Indicators in Africa, and more generally gender-specific initiatives within African public media bodies, participants developed action plans for their organisation through the lens of different indicators – working conditions, editorial policies, media content, and others.
This training was one of many initiatives led by UNESCO in favour of gender equality, such as initiating the Global Alliance on Gender and Media, which builds part of its work on the Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media. This event also fit in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 (“Gender Equality”) and Goal 16.10 (“Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms”).