Palestine: Women in media content

Palestine: Women in media content

A project update
Val Kalende

As in many parts of the world, women in Palestine are virtually invisible in news reporting on peace, conflict and security. Women make up half the Palestinian population yet they remain significantly under-represented in the media. Media messages often tend to perpetuate negative and biased stereotypes about women and usually highlight their victimization rather than focusing on their capabilities and unique contributions to society.

One women’s media advocacy group is challenging these gender stereotypes with a goal to end sexism in the news.

Through a project titled “Women in Palestinian Media” and with funding support from WACC, Women and Media Development (TAM)* seeks to increase visibility of women in media on issues concerning peace, conflict and security. The project will promote and reinforce a fair and balanced image of women in the media using four strategies: Awareness raising, media monitoring research, advocacy and mobilization, and publication of the research at national level. The project emerged out of TAM’s work as the Palestine national coordinator for the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP 2015), and the media monitoring research carried out in partnership with WACC for the 15-year global review of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

The challenges addressed through the project are part of a bigger problem in Palestinian society. Palestinians in the West Bank have seen their living conditions and living standards quickly deteriorate. Widespread destruction, tight regime and closures, steady deterioration of economic conditions, concerns for physical protection and repeated violations of international humanitarian law, have all had a devastating impact on the livelihood and the political state of Palestinians. Palestinian communities remain disrupted by fear as residential areas become battlefields and unarmed civilians including women, children and elderly are targeted.

Now mid-way through the project, TAM has successfully conducted training for media students on Palestinian legal frameworks for women’s rights, equipping the students with knowledge about the status of women in media and how to document stories using visual, audio, electronic and print media. TAM activists hope that the project outcomes will further enhance and raise the status of women in leadership and decision-making in Palestinian media. Ultimately, TAM envisions that the project will help create more opportunities for media professionals to challenge prevailing gender inequalities in media, increase media coverage of women’s issues and inspire female journalists to take up leadership and decision-making roles.

*Women and Media Development (TAM) is a media advocacy organization based in Palestine. TAM was established in 2003 to address and create solutions to gender inequalities in Palestinian media. Read more about TAM here.

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