Why this initiative

UNESCO is committed to the highest principles of equal opportunities and of professionalism in journalism, without discriminating on gender, race or religion.

There are only two kinds of journalism - good and bad. Good journalism involves fair and accurate representation, and a search for diversity and balanced reporting on subject matter, perspectives and points of view.

Women constitute half of the world population and they are an important part of the media consumers. Yet, women still do not constitute half of the media images and voices, nor media messages address half of women’s interests and concerns.

Gender equality in the media implies that women’s as well as men’s interests, concerns and experiences are included in news coverage and that the producers of that coverage are both women professionals and men professionals. UNESCO holds that the under-representation of women in the upper echelons of media management is both a symptom and cause of the inequality between the sexes and discrimination against women.

Moreover, the exclusion of women from the news – as shapers and subjects of that news – is not only a gender issue. Freedom of expression, a highly important UNESCO objective, is best served by equal representation of working professionals in media. Media that discriminates against its professionals on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, disability or otherwise, severely compromises the independence and pluralism of information conveyed to local, national and international communities.

Women Make the News initiative is designed to bring attention to the fact that although women journalists are increasingly present in numbers in both electronic and print media, not enough women rise above the “glass ceiling” to key editorial and leadership positions.

Women Makes the News seeks to encourage media managers to give fair consideration to female newsroom staff in terms of assignments, positions and career development opportunities. Editors-in-chief choose the news to be covered, determine the points of view, allot the time to items and express the media’s values through “editorial choices”.

The key to having professional and profitable journalism is to stay on top of the needs and desires of all readers and viewers, to have a wide range of viewpoints and voices covered, including those of women.

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