IFJ issue new handbook on gender equality in journalism

  on January 21, 2014

International Federation of Journalists and UNESCO launch handbook on gender equality in journalism

Lavinia Mohr, Director of Programmes
6 March 2009

WACC welcomes the publication today by the International Federation of Journalists of a handbook for journalists entitled Getting the Balance Right: Gender Equality in Journalism.  

In launching the handbook, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on media professionals and unions activists to join the fight against gender discrimination.  

"One of the greatest challenges facing journalists, both men and women, is to resist the culture of casual stereotype in our everyday work," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Fair gender portrayal is a professional and ethical aspiration, similar to respect for accuracy, fairness and honesty.”  In the preface, he goes on to say that "It takes argument, debate, training and practical commitment to confront discrimination wherever it lurks. . . This booklet gives added argument and dynamism to a campaign that should be taken up in every newsroom, every media house and every union meeting.  Journalism has its roots in the fight for decency, progress and rights for all. It will honour its tradition and reinvigorate the profession when the ideas, guidelines and advice in these pages are put into practice".

The IFJ says that the booklet sets out the current status of women media professionals, the level and areas of inequality and measures that are used to address them.  It examines media performance in portrayal of women and reinforcing or breaking down existing stereotypes. It also defines the role unions, professional organisations and union activists can play in promoting equality and ensuring women are properly represented in their decision making bodies.

Abdul Waheed Khan,UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information said, “UNESCO, jointly with its partners, invites journalists to use this handbook to become better informed when dealing with gender issues in the media sphere. It will assist people working in the media to assess progress on gender equality, identify challenges, and contribute to local, regional and global debates leading to the formulation of concrete policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide.”

The handbook, addressed to journalists, media organisations, professional associations and journalists’ unions, is available in English and Spanish from both the IFJ and UNESCO.

The handbook section on stereotypes in the media is based on the evidence produced by WACC’s Global Media Monitoring Project 2005.  It refers the reader to the project’s report Who Makes the News? and to WACC’s Mission Possible: Media and Gender Justice Advocacy Training Tool Kit.

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January 21, 2014
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Beijing +20: In my opinion...

The most important contribution that the Beijing Platform for Action has made to advancing gender equality in and through the media is:

Setting global standards to which governments and the media can be held accountable
Bringing coherence to and greater understanding of civil society initiatives on gender, women and media
Raising the profile of work on 'women and media' as important for addressing gender inequalities in women's lived experiences.

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