06.04.2012 - Gender Links/UNESCO

Gender central to good journalism education

Photo from Gender in media education report, by Trevor Davies

Journalism and media educators from eight Southern African institutions will meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 10 to 13 April 2012. Participants from seven countries will work on ways to mainstream gender journalism and media education and training. Gender Links (GL), in partnership with UNESCO, will run a four-day inception workshop with educators on mainstreaming gender in journalism and media education, and training curricula.

The year-long project will include three onsite training sessions with online seminars in between. Outputs from the workshop will be available in an online database on the GL website.

The workshop comes in the wake of two key GL research projects:

  • Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS)
    In the framework of this study, 33265 news items were monitored over a period of one year in 14 Southern African countries. GMPS, which was a follow up to the 2003 Gender and Media Baseline Study, found that the proportion of women sources in the Southern African media has increased from 17 to 19 percent in seven years.
  • Gender in Media Education (GIME) audited institutions of higher learning in Southern Africa to determine if and how gender was integrated in journalism and media education, and training. It was apparent from the general findings of the Gender in Media Education research that educators are willing to integrate gender into curriculum but do not always have the capacity to do so.

One of the key findings of GIME and GMPS is that gender training for journalists is very important to start to shift gender imbalances in the media. The four-day workshop Johannesburg next week will look at concrete ways of integrating gender into course content, assessments and teaching. The event will conribute towards building a media that integrates gender into all aspects of production.

The media is a platform for democratic discourse and should reflect a diversity of views and interests in society. Good journalism is about accuracy, balance and fairness. An absence of women and women’s voices in the media compromises these principles; integrating gender into reportage is about good journalism.

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