The Institute of Journalism Studies of Coimbra University and the Research Center for Media and Journalism (CIMJ) are holding an International Conference on "Gender, Media and the Public Sphere" on the 22nd and 23rd of October 2009 in Coimbra, Portugal.
Gender equality is a human rights issue and a condition of social justice. Claims involving equality between women and men in all areas of life are best advanced in the public sphere, where they are subject to information and debate, allowing women and men to express their needs and establish an informed opinion, contributing to a more gender-balanced society.
Of the different institutions that constitute the public sphere, the media have perhaps the most fundamental function. Media should therefore be approached as key elements in the social construction of political public opinion and as central institutions of the public sphere, fulfilling an ideal role in the democratization of collective life in general and in the promotion of equality in particular.
The media play a vital role in the mediation of the different activities and discursive arenas that make up the public sphere, namely between civil society, political leadership and citizens. They can also play a very significant role in establishing a social and political awareness of gender inequalities that need to be tackled, as well as in the empowerment of individuals and organizations with that mission.
Media, however, do not simply convey the issues and claims put forward by other actors of collective life. Rather, they speak in their own voice, clearly influencing the public agenda. On the other hand, media’s dystopic logics – as often seen in their discursive and image constructions of women and gender inequalities, in their power to render visible and invisible certain people and issues, and in their ability to enact unequal interactions – have become areas of concern that need to be researched.
The Conference aims to establish itself as a significant gathering pointfor researchers, organizations, media professionals, governmentagencies, and students, to consider these and other issues relating to themediation of gender.
For more information, please visit: mediagender.wordpress.com