Building peace in the minds of men and women

Improving gender equality in Asia-Pacific media: A new study by UNESCO, UN Women and IFJ

Across the Asia-Pacific region, women are still significantly underrepresented in the media, where men continue to dominate the top positions and hard news reporting jobs. A 2011 report by the International Women's Media Foundation on the global status of women in the news media showed that men occupied the vast majority of managerial and newsgathering positions in the region, with women taking up barely 13% of senior management positions. Factors like institutionalised prejudices and gender stereotyping are causing women in the news to be marginalised in terms of the career choices and opportunities for upward mobility available to them.

In order to accurately inform the debate on gender equality in the media and formulate concrete actions that relevant stakeholders in the region can take to improve the situation, and as a follow-up to the Global Forum on Media and Gender that took place in Bangkok in 2013, UNESCO and UN Women have partnered with the International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific (IFJ) to conduct a Research Study on Media and Gender in Asia-Pacific.

Building on IFJ’s earlier research in this area, the study will look at a sample of countries in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan), South East Asia (Malaysia, Cambodia) and the Pacific (Vanuatu). The study is guided by UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for the Media and will use a combination of country-based surveys, media content analysis and case studies to gather data in areas such as:

  • the situation of women in the media;
  • the number of women in senior, decision-making positions and the issues affecting this representation;
  • the role that unions, associations and women´s networks could and do play and expectations of their actions; and
  • best practice case studies of campaigns, media workplaces as well as coverage and representation of women.

Based on the findings, the study will assess strategies to improve the situation of women in media and identify key indicators for women journalists’ safety at work.

The recommendations arising from this study will be presented to regional and global fora related to the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) +20 review process and the post-2015 development framework, ultimately aiming to inform relevant global, regional and national policies and programmes. A first draft of the report will be tabled at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Bangkok in November 2014, and the final report is expected to be presented at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015.