‘… it is essential to promote forms of communication that not only challenge the patriarchal nature of media but strive to decentralise and democratise them: to create media that encourage dialogue and debate; media that advance women and peoples' creativity; media that reaffirm women's wisdom and knowledge, and that make people into subjects rather than objects or targets of communication. Media which are responsive to people's needs’
—The ‘Bangkok Declaration’, 1994. Español Français
‘…Strategic objective J.1: Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication; Strategic objective J.2.: Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media’
—Section J of the ‘Beijing Platform for Action’, 1995.
In 1987 a series of regional consultations on ‘women and media’ convened by the communication rights' organisation WACC-UK culminated in the first-ever global conference on ‘Women Empowering Communication’ held in Bangkok in February 1994. Convened in co-operation with Isis International - Philippines and the International Women’s Tribune Centre-New York, the conference brought together over 430 people from 80 countries. At the conference, women from all over the world developed a series of strategies and resolutions for empowering women in and through the media in the ‘Bangkok Declaration’.
The Bangkok Declaration and the recommendations contained in Section J on “Women and the media” of the Beijing Platform for Action of the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women have provided a blueprint for our interventions. In March 2017 the Bangkok Declaration was revised with input from participants at a WACC pre-Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) symposium in New York. Dubbed The New York Declaration, the new text reflects pertinent gender issues in the current media landscape. The document articulates a feminist agenda for the media and charts a path for action by various actors.
We promote critical media research to generate evidence for education, awareness, training and advocacy, supporting women’s use of media for their own empowerment and for the development of their communities. It advocates full and equal participation of women in public communication so that their multiple and complex interests, experiences and realities become part of the public agenda. It also supports civil society evidence-building on media and marginalized sectors of society in order to advance social justice goals for all in and through the media.
Our work has resulted in an extensive network of individuals and organizations concerned about gender, media and critical communication broadly, from grassroots activists to academics and development organisations.