“A gender lens can reveal whether or not an event or process affects women and men, girls and boys in particular ways, thereby allowing reporters to uncover a possible gender angle that may well add a significant and striking dimension to the story. A gender lens can also facilitate broader and deeper insights into the range of events and issues covered by the media”.
— Learning Resource Kit for Gender-Ethical Journalism. Book 1: Conceptual issues. WACC/IFJ, 2012.
This month marks a new milestone in the quest for gender equality in and through the media. Media practitioners now have at their disposal a unique resource kit to help build expertise in integrating gender ethics in their practice of professional journalism. The kit is a collaborative initiative by WACC and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
It became increasingly clear to WACC while co-ordinating the Fourth Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP 2010) process that there exists an appreciable mass of media practitioners motivated to learn how to respond to the critique of gender bias in their output. This said in awareness of the structural constraints in the broader media operating environment that impede radical change.
It was also clear that the building blocks for gender-ethical media practice were already in place in the form of codes of ethics in which principles such as truth, accuracy, objectivity, balance, fairness and accountability are accepted as basic tenets of journalistic professional practice.
It is from this point of departure that the resource kit sets off, articulating the tenets through a gender lens, as a wholistic, multi-dimensional understanding necessarily needs to be infused also with reflections about gender, or, how gender difference intersects with professional ethics. Excerpts from the kit are featured in this issue of Media & Gender Monitor.
Undoubtedly, civil society are implicated in the change process. To borrow the words of Sandra Lopez (pg.8) “Our collective efforts must include the task of awareness-raising, […], as a process of debate and demystification” of hitherto unquestioned prevailing attitudes and practices underpinning gender bias, inequalities, discrimination and exclusion.
This issue of Media & Gender Monitor presents case studies of civil society experiences in working with media. A remarkable case study out of Ecuador demonstrates how one grassroots organisation has mobilized the citizens of an entire city—the local government officials and media included—to participate in the Citizens’ Communication Observatory running since 2004.
This issue profiles the work of WACC’s partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America undertaking innovative projects to advance gender-responsive media practice.
Also featured are resources to support media monitoring, policy change advocacy and spaces available for networking.
We hope the stories will not only be inspirational but eye-opening as well in revealing opportunities to evolve our strategies for a continued and fruitful engagement.
Sarah Macharia, Editor
Download Media & Gender Monitor Issue 23 here.