Advancing gender equality in the Pacific
A workshop in Honiara, Solomon Islands, stressed the need for media standards to be consistent with gender equality.
The Workshop for Advancing the Pacific Women in Media Action Plan was organized by UNESCO and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community from 22 to 23 May 2007. It was a practical, highly interactive event designed to help media practitioners examine how they make decisions on equality and human rights issues.
There is a need for media organisations to actively endorse the strategies which will create greater recognition of Pacific women's achievements and value their contributions to society, the delegates declared.
The workshop also recognised the responsibility of the media to promote human rights education and to raise awareness of any human rights violations. This would be best undertaken, the participants said, through strategic coalitions to promote the issue of women's and children's rights. Such coalitions were critical to monitor governments on their progress towards implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the revised Pacific Platform for Action (PPA), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Pacific Plan.
The participants have taken home with them a series of practical strategies to develop local gender equality action plans for their organisations. They stressed the critical role to be played by national media associations and gender advocacy groups and encouraged the establishment of such groups in all Pacific Island countries and territories.
The workshop also reiterated the need for media guidelines, standards and practices to be consistent with gender equality commitments. It urged the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) to assist its members in developing gender equality policies and to establish an annual media award for the best coverage of gender issues.
The <a href="http://portal.unesco.org/ci/admin/file_download.php/action_plan.pdf?URL_ID=24759&filename=11817476861action_plan.pdf&filetype=application%2Fpdf&filesize=60668&name=action_plan.pdf&location=user-S/">Pacific Women in Media Action Plan</a> is a plan for Pacific realities, based on an important international agreement, section J of the <a target=_blank href="http://www.unesco.org/education/information/nfsunesco/pdf/BEIJIN_E.PDF">Beijing Platform for Action</a>, itself the product of one of the largest global meetings on women's rights the planet has ever seen.