Towards 2015: On guard for women's communication rights

  on January 21, 2014
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Dr. Sarah Macharia

Seven years ago Annabelle Sreberny wrote “The major lesson in political communication for women is that incessant vigilance and repetition is needed to keep gender issues salient within WSIS debates and communication issues alive within the Beijing debates”(in Media Development 2005:3)(1).

Vigilance and repetition could not be more urgent now as the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action approaches, the WSIS 15-year summit, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target date and agreement on a Post-2015 development framework.

In a recent Post MDG High Level Panel CSOs teleconference I was struck by the sheer spread of thematic concerns raised by callers-in as imperative for inclusion in the Post-2015 agenda, from environmental accountability to youth poverty, children’s education and a host of multiple competing priorities. (2)

The multi-stakeholder consultations, rights and people-centered approach adopted for the post-2015 framework process have opened space to imagine possibilities of a new development agenda in which every relevant issue stands a relatively equal chance of prioritization.

The High-Level Panel eventually recommended a Post-2015 agenda driven by “five big transformative shifts” (report, May 2013), the fourth of which – “Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all” – may perhaps provide the only opening for communication-related interventions.

A review of the sea of documents coming out of the post-2015 debates shows some lobby for certain components of women’s communication rights concentrated largely on capacity-building on use of different media forms, and on elimination of gender stereotyping in media.

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January 21, 2014
Categories:  Media&Gender Monitor

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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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