New York, March 2, 2010.
‘There is a gender angle to every story’ is one of several arguments underscored at an animated panel discussion and open debate during which the preliminary report of the Fourth Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP 2010) was launched.
The event took place on March 2 in New York on the occasion of the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Moderated by Ms. Joanne Sandler, Deputy Executive Director of UNIFEM, the panel was one of a handful during the CSW parallel sessions focusing specifically on ‘women and the media ‘ – Section ‘J’ of the Beijing Platform for Action. As such, the event was highly anticipated by participants for whom Section ‘J’ remains a crucial concern in spite of the dwindling interest shown in this theme by international policy makers.
The event titled ‘What happened to Section J? Gender Equality in the World’s Media’ attracted a highly engaged panel and audience.
On the panel was Ms. Saniye Gülser Corat – Director, Division for Gender Equality, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO, Mr. Sanjay Suri – Editor in Chief of InterPress Service, Ms. Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls – Femlink Pacific: Media Initiatives for Women, Fiji and Ms. Lavinia Mohr – World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).
In the audience there were, among others, representatives of organisations that had coordinated the November 2009 GMMP research in their countries, volunteer GMMP media monitors, practising journalists from broadcasting and print media, representatives of UN agencies and members of government official delegations to the CSW.
The event was a rare opportunity for international debate around the evidence produced by the GMMP on the pervasiveness and persistence of women’s invisibility in the news in contrast to men, gender-stereotypical coverage and the relative inaudibility of women’s voices in the news.
How can media assess their gender responsiveness? What about the argument that news is unable to transcend to a gender-balanced perspective because the world reported is gender-imbalanced? Do cases exist where it has been possible to successfully include gender indicators in public media? How can gender responsiveness be mainstreamed in television content? Can social media be integrated with mainstream media? What kind of media do social justice activists want to see? How can issues of concern to women find space at the core of the mainstream news media agenda? These are a few of the numerous thought-provoking questions debated, issues that media professionals and gender and communication groups continue to grapple with.
Debate on the questions raised will continue within the global GMMP network. Some of the concerns will be taken up for further exploration in the full GMMP report scheduled for publication in September, 2010, in time for the Millennium Development Goals Review Summit.