India: Gender issues in Election Coverage

Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is tracking gender-related issues in media coverage of the elections in the blog NWMI-Gender and Media Watch Election 2014.

The blog's purpose “is to examine print, broadcast, online media (in English-language and non-English languages) and its coverage in relation to women and the Indian elections 2014". NMWI hopes to "examine how political parties and candidates are viewing women’s issues; female electorates; and also examine the media’s handling and representation of women voters and politicians", according to information provided on the blog site.

NWMI aims to provide a forum for women in media professions to share information and resources, exchange ideas, promote media awareness and ethics, and work for gender equality and justice within the media and society. NWMI coordinates gender-focussed media monitoring in India for the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP).

The 2014 India general election began on April 7, running until May 12, making this the longest election in the history of the country.  With over 800 million electors, India has the largest electoral population in the world. Women's issues have never been more on the agenda than now. The number of female candidates has risen from 355 in 2004 to 631 in 2014. Women's participation in voting rose from 38 percent in 1950 to 66 percent in 2009. This time it is expected to be even higher. 

Some blog posts:

Who hogged the limelight?
Patriarchal elections
Special focus on women

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Advancing gender equality in media

In my opinion, the most effective strategy to achieve gender-sensitive media is:

Increased gender-awareness training of media professionals
Greater action by audiences to hold their media accountable
Stricter enforcement of gender-focussed media codes and policies
More female journalists, editors and media house managers


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