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Gender awareness in media promoted in China thanks to IPDC project

The project “Promoting Gender-Awareness in Chinese Mass Media” successfully concluded with a seminar discussing the international professional standards and the Chinese practices related to gender sensitive reporting in media. The seminar, held on 18 April 2014 at the Communication University of China (CUC), was the occasion to share the findings and follow up of a two-year project supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), with an audience of more than fifty communication scholars, journalism educators and media managers.

Professor Liu Liqun, Director of the Media and Gender Institute of CUC and UNESCO Media and Gender Chair holder, noted in her keynote speech that one of the reasons to promoting gender-awareness in mass media is the clear understanding, rational and objective judgment on the status of gender-awareness in mass media. She also highlighted the importance of training journalism educators, and expressed the wish that the conclusion of this IPDC project leads to further enhancing gender-awareness in Chinese media.

The UNESCO Chair on Media and Gender at the Communication University had launched the project in November 2012, aiming to pilot UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators in Media (GSIM) in selected Chinese newsrooms. Throughout 2013, CUC’s Chair conducted a media monitoring based on GSIM assessing gender awareness and gender sensitivity with eight Chinese media outlets. The outcome of the monitoring report shows that gender stereotypes are often prevailing while reporting, and that various types of gender-based violence are sometimes reported unprofessionally in the news, often because of socio-cultural reasons and lack of gender-sensitive awareness among media practitioners. The report also recommends localizing GSIM in China.

At the seminar, media managers from the organizations involved in the project implementation shared their understanding of GSIM and put forward future plans for further promoting GSIM in their institutions and daily work.

On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated: “As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference and the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and as we shape a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015, we must ensure that women’s empowerment and gender equality stand at the heart of all of our work to craft a better future.” During the seminar, Andrea Cairola, from UNESCO’s Beijing Office, encouraged media organizations and professionals in China to further take advantage of UNESCO’s GSIM as a tool for advancing gender equality in their respective work.

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks to enable media capacity building. In the UNESCO Beijing cluster countries, in recent years, IPDC has supported a number of projects related to the promotion of freedom of information, improving the media landscape in the ethnic minority areas, supporting community radio in Mongolia, and promoting gender awareness and gender sensitive reporting.