On the Road to Gender Equality: Changing Media Narratives

  on July 16, 2014

(Preface excerpt)

Tasneem Ahmar, Uks Research Centre, Islamabad

"Each time Uks brings out a new report, study or survey on ‘Women and Media’, we face a barrage of questions: Why are we at Uks forever trying to sensitise the media on gender and women issues? Have we seen any positive changes in the manner the media portrays women? Despite odds why do we continue with our efforts to change the stereotypical portrayal and representation of women in the media? These are difficult questions to answer but not totally baseless. We ask ourselves the same. Each time we reach out to the media with an initiative to inculcate some level of gender-responsiveness, we always ask ourselves why we are doing this and what would be the outcome?

The answers are sometimes very heartening although at other times we feel that more could have been achieved. Frequently we feel very unhappy at the gender biases and gender blindness that remain highly visible in the media in talk shows, morning shows, news and current affair programmes, soaps and plays, and of course advertisements. This is what keeps Uks going, to keep working towards the empowerment of women in and through the media. So, while we celebrate each success, we also pledge never to give up.

This report is our latest contribution. Based upon our interactions with the media and their responses to our various surveys and questionnaires on how media reports on gender, the report gives an account of how and where media lacks information, commitment and awareness on sifting good from bad, positive from negative and how due to this inability, the media ends up doing a disservice to women and gender issues.

The main purpose of the report is to promote gender balance and equality, create awareness, bring forward best practices illustrating how some are taking women’s issues into account and supporting women’s participation in media development. It is earnestly hoped that it achieves what it is aimed at: a gender responsive media."

Download report here.

Uks is the Pakistan country coordinator of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), a research and advocacy initiative on gender equality in and through the news media.

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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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