Participation and Access of Women to Media
Women's participation and access to the media was the theme of a meeting of leading media experts and representatives of women NGOs from all over the world that was organized by the UN and UNESCO in Beirut this week. The meeting aimed at reviewing policy issues; access, employment and decision-making, content, and impact of ICTs on media professionals and media content.
The meeting that was convened by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, the UN Department of Public Information and UNESCO's Division for the Development of Communication, was intended to assist the work of the UN Commission on the Status of Women that is in charge to prepare its 47th session in March 2003 when it will consider the theme "Participation and access of women to the media, and ICTs and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women".
The "Women and media" section, being one of the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action, clearly recognised the potential of the media to make far greater contribution to the advancement of women. Although policy frameworks and strategic targets for the enhancement of women's careers in media have been shown to produce positive results in a number of settings, the increasingly global and commercial structures of media institutions do not sit easily with the adoption of gender sensitive measures.
The experts argued that the nature and the scale of women's continued marginalisation in the media, allied with the difficulty of establishing effective systems of accountability in an increasingly commercial and globalising media market place, meant that no single strategy can accomplish a great deal on its own.
The expert group meeting examined experiences and approaches that have proven successful in specific contexts, and will soon publish its recommendations for policies and actions directed at various levels -national, regional and international.
Taking account of the rapid pace of technological change in the area of media and communications, the expert group meeting tried to look to the future in an attempt to anticipate new challenges and trends.
The findings and conclusions of the expert group meeting will also provide the basis for a report of the UN Secretary-General on this theme early in 2003.