UNESCO and partners launch Global Alliance on Media and Gender

© Kraising Boonyarangkavorn

The newly formed Alliance aims to intensify actions towards gender equality in media content and staffing. The network includes representatives of media organizations, media professionals, academics, policy-makers, civil society groups, development agencies. Membership will be dynamic and open to all parties that subscribe to the core principles. Click here to join the alliance.

The conference’s Final Statement defines GAMG's overarching mission as follows: "We are committed to gender equality and women's empowerment across generations to fully participate and enabling women's access to expression and decision-making by promoting a gender-inclusive media and communication environment that reaches gender equality in media organizations."

The Bangkok forum took as its reference point the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women. In this statement, the United Nations identified gender inequality in media – in access, representation and the dearth of female decision-makers – as a key area of concern. However, progress since has been fragmented and lacking the strength of a global movement.

Janis Karklins. © Kraising Boonyarangkavorn

In the closing session of the conference, the Assistant Director-General for UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector, Janis Karklins, highlighted how the GAMG could contribute to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and to the UN Conference on Women in 2015.

He announced that further feedback on the conference final statement would be accepted via UNESCO Headquarters' website until 15 December 2013.

At the closing of the event, Churairat Sangboonnum, the Secretary-General of the Thailand National Commission for UNESCO, said the forum had been a success in spurring dialogue on women’s equality and media.

"Our aim in coming together for this meeting is to stimulate debate on the challenges faced by international, regional and national gender and media programmes," she said. "More specifically, it was also intended to facilitate a Global Alliance on Media and Gender and to achieve Millennium Development Goal number three, promoting gender equality and empowering women. For this meeting, I believe we have successfully achieved our objectives."

Corletha Ollivierre and Churairat Sangboonnum. © Kraising Boonyarangkavorn

Corletha Ollivierre, Director of the Board of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, applauded the framework of the draft GAMG, saying it initiated a forum for dialogue and cooperation, particularly between civil society groups and media houses.

"The Global Alliance starts today, with all of us in this room linking with other partners to make sure things happen," she said. "Media houses are not the enemies of civil society. We have to try to find ways to engage constructively ... We must work together to bring about the transformation that is needed."

Philomene Aboudou from the African Union of Broadcasters agreed that the GAMG served as a valuable forum for cooperation and a long-needed mechanism to advance one of the key areas of concern in the Beijing Plan of Action. "In Beijing, we talked about media and gender, but did not take further action. After this event we will have an important mechanism to work together on this with UNESCO," she said.

Adama Lee Bah, President of Young People in the Media and youth representative on the steering committee for the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy, called for young people to have a voice in the GAMG and for older generations to be open to this important voice. "What we want... is [a platform] where young people can have the confidence to voice our thoughts, our dreams and challenges for a better future."

UNESCO's key partners for the Global Forum on Media and Gender were: UN Women, Thailand's Ministry of Education, the World Meteorological Organization, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, IREX, World Association for Christian Communication, the Panos Institute for South Africa, Thammasat University, Thai Public Service Broadcaster, and Al-Jazeera.

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