Communication rights and public voices: Gender-focussed media monitoring

  on January 29, 2014

WACC has announced the grantees of project funding for the 2014. Six projects will be funded under "Communication Rights and Public Voices : Gender and Communication," an initiative that supports civil society organisations to conduct gender-focussed media monitoring and to engage with media professionals on gender issues in media policy and practice.

The grantees are:

1. Espoir de la Famille (Benin), "Promoting women’s participation and engagement with media"

Espoir de la famille is a non-governmental organisation that seeks to advance women’s communication rights and leadership. Initially established by women living with HIV and AIDS to promote the rights of HIV+ persons, the NGO’s work has broadened to support the participation of poor marginalized women in all aspects of community development. Espoir de la famille designed this project to broach the problem of representation, participation and access of women to media. Despite the appreciable number of women working in the media, women are under-represented as reporters, as members of professional associations and in decision-making within media structures. Media contribution to advancing gender equality is minimal. Effort must be made to reverse the trends and to promote gender equality in media policy and practice. The project will strengthen the capacities of 40 women’s rights activists to influence the media, dialogue with and hold media accountable for the integration of women’s needs and concerns. The project will train 30 journalists on gender issues and the role of women in economic and social development. 4 advocacy campaigns based on the media monitoring results will be implemented to defend women’s right to participate in the media. The project will convene 4 consultations with media professionals on media’s responsibility to take into consideration women’s needs and concerns.

2. Asmita Women's Publishing House, Media and Resource Organisation (Nepal). Project title "Media Monitoring & Advocacy for Gender Equality"

ASMITA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose objective is to advocate for gender equality, women's human rights, empowerment and progress through the mass media. It seeks to enrich the gender discourse in Nepali society, to understand the actual situation of Nepali women through research from gender perspective and to enhance mainstream media’s gender-sensitivity and accountability to women. The project will monitor gender portrayal and representation in political, economic and rural development news in 18 newspapers, 4 radio and 5 television stations. This is the first attempt in Nepal to monitor the news over an expanded time frame. The monitoring will generate substantive data for further advocacy, a national report and awareness materials. The direct beneficiaries are project staff, journalists, media producers, media executives and civil society activists. The project will advance gender equality by encouraging gender-balanced portrayal and representation in news media. The evidence and subsequent advocacy are expected to compel media to formulate and implement in-house gender policies.

3. Fundacion Colectivo Cabildeo (Bolivia). Project title "Monitoring the presence of Aymara women in the mass media"

Fundacion Colectivo Cabildeo is a women’s collective committed to dismantling the relations of subordination of women in society and state structures, to promoting participation and the empowerment of women's organizations, and substantive participation in national, regional and municipal public policy. FCC works closely with indigenous leaders and organizations to defend their economic, political and communication rights. The project’s overall goal is to influence the adoption of communication policies that are inclusive from an ethnic and gender perspective, to recognize the contribution of indigenous Aymara women in the Department of La Paz. The project will monitor representation of gender and ethnic Aymara women in news about politics, the economy and rural development disseminated on 2 departmental newspapers, 4 radio and 2 television stations. It will collect quantitative data on gender and ethnic disparities in news media content. The results will be published in a national newspaper and discussed in 3 talks, 4 radio programmes and a television-broadcast roundtable. The project will benefit Aymara women leaders and communicators, and strengthen their status from a political and communication perspective. The project will establish spaces for discussion and advocacy of Aymara women, for communication policies that recognize and uphold communication rights for all.

4. WACC-Latin America (Bolivia). Project title "Communication rights from a gender perspective in the Post-2015 Development Agenda"

WACC – Latin America is a volunteer-led association that promotes the right to communicate through media monitoring, research and capacity building.   It is committed to an ecumenical communication approach that defends the full access to information and communication, promotes open and diverse media, and strengthens networks of communicators. Several global consultations are taking place to shape input into the Post-2015 Development Agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework. The project presents an opportunity to impact discussions at regional and global levels. It seeks to introduce debate on communication rights with a gender perspective, and the need to address social and symbolic discrimination in order to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.  A regional consultation with 60 experts and Latin American communicators from 6 countries will be held to analyze the impact of the MDGs through the lens of the Global Media Monitoring Project results from 2000 to 2010. Specifically, the analysis will focus on the representation of women in the media, and identify emerging gender and communication issues important for inclusion in the Post-2015 Agenda. The meeting will develop a Latin American proposal on gender & communication for the Post-2015 Agenda considering several dimensions such as: public policy, citizens’ right to communicate from a gender perspective, support to gender and communication initiatives and documentation of successful experiences on communication rights. The proposal will be presented to the United Nations, governmental delegations, organisations and individuals participating at the Post-2015 Development Agenda meetings.

5. Rede Mulher de Educaçao (Brazil). Project title "Brazilian women in the news"

Rede Mulher is a non-governmental organization that promotes and facilitates the inter-connection between women’s groups all over Brazil, and abroad, constructing a network of services in popular feminist education. Rede Mulher develops actions to strengthen the capacity to challenge gender unfairness, institutional sexism and to valorize feminist contributions to society. The project addresses the problem of exacerbating racist and sexist stereotypes in the Brazilian media that are holding back the emergence of a fairer and more egalitarian society. The consequences are embodied in increased domestic violence, trafficking in women and sexual violence. The project seeks to help change the current reality by educating key stakeholders on the need to adopt mechanisms of influence on mass media and social media, going beyond the critical reading and instrumentalist approach. Activists, researchers and journalism students in the 27 states of Brazil will participate in media monitoring and advocacy. The findings will be published in an online book to be distributed to state agencies, non-governmental organisations and media houses. The project is expected to benefit particularly women of African descent located at the base of the social pyramid.

6. Grupo de Apoyo al Movimiento de Mujeres del Azuay (Ecuador). Project title "Women and electoral participation: What do the media say? What do we propose?"

GAMMA is a not-for-profit organisation created by women to contribute to the construction of a fair, equitable and solidarity-based society. It seeks to unmask the workings of patriarchal culture in order to reveal the assumptions that discrimination, subordination, exclusion and violence are natural. The project tackles the normalization of subordination and exclusion of women in and through media, with the objective to transform the worldview that sustains discrimination, subordination, exclusion and violence against women. The project will monitor gender portrayal and representation in electoral campaign news. It will contribute to the body of evidence gathered through critical media monitoring, with a view to encourage the active participation of citizens in influencing change in media practice. The project will deepen the analysis of media messages and portrayal of women and men during the 2014 electoral period. It will seek to influence change towards media practices that steer clear from gender stereotypes, as well as to build a citizenry that is more reflective and analytical about media messages.

WACC's Gender and Communication Initiative is rooted in an understanding that gender inequalities in participation in and access to media limit their potential to become inclusive, democratic spaces. Biases, stereotyping and unbalanced reporting from a gender perspective normalize and further entrench unequal gender power relations at the root of discriminatory attitudes and practices.

Section J of the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth UN World Conference on Women in 1995 underscores the importance of media to the advancement of women. Non-governmental organisations and media professional associations are encouraged to establish ‘media watch groups that can monitor the media and consult with the media to ensure that women’s needs and concerns are properly reflected’.    

Monitoring the media with a gender lens generates evidence useful for awareness creation and advocacy for change in media policy and practice. 

More information about WACC's project support.



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January 29, 2014
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