“We all know how damaging sexist media images can be and
the suffering that it can inflict on women in particular”
Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality
Women represent half of the world’s population, but their representation in the media remains drastically insufficient. They are the focus of only 10% of news stories and represent 20% of experts or spokespeople interviewed. Only 4% of news stories are deemed to challenge gender stereotypes.
Ending stereotyped portrayals of women and men in the media lies at the heart of UNESCO’s work. To explain UNESCO’s actions and strategic partnerships to fight gender stereotyping in advertising and the media, the OECD Friends of Gender Equality Plus Group* invited Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, and Ms Christelle Delarue, Founder and CEO of Mad&Women, to speak at a panel intervention organized on 11 September 2019.
H.E. Mr Kristján Andri Stefánsson, Ambassador of Iceland to the OECD and UNESCO and Ms Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa, welcomed the participants.
Ms Corat then spoke about UNESCO’s work to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, with particular attention to the field of Communication and Information. She pointed out the threats to which women journalists are particular vulnerable – such as sexual violence and gender-based harassment. UNESCO is working with journalists and policy-makers to improve reporting on issues that overwhelmingly affect women and girls, such as child marriage, genital mutilation and teen pregnancy.
“Threats and violence against women journalists – whether they occur online or offline – can have a devastating effect on their psychological health and ability to carry out their work, but also a wider impact on society. They can lead to self-censorship and push women out of an already male-dominated sector”, said Ms Corat.
Ms Delarue then demonstrated how the media often objectifies women and presented an Action Plan to fight gender stereotypes through feminist advertising. Ms Delarue is the founder and CEO of the first feminist advertising company based in Paris, Mad&Women, and signed a strategic partnership with UNESCO on 4 April 2019.
The panel ended with concluding remarks by H.E. Ms Ivita Burmistre, Ambassador of Latvia to the OECD and UNESCO, followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
*The OECD Friends of Gender Equality Plus Group is co-chaired by Ms Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa, H.E Mr Kristján Andri Stefánsson, Ambassador of Iceland to the OECD and UNESCO, and H.E. Ms Ivita Burmistre, Ambassador of Latvia to the OECD and UNESCO. This Group aims at providing an update on ongoing work and the most recent policy recommendations for promoting gender equality and/or LGBTQI+ rights.