UNESCO joins panel on media and gender

Research into gender and media was the focus of a special session titled Research, Knowledge and Activism at the 2017 International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference, in Cartagena, Colombia, last week.

Organised by the Global Alliance for Media and Gender (GAMAG), an autonomous network that was set up originally by UNESCO, the panel highlighted plans to contribute to the 2018 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

The upcoming CSW session will review developments since 2003 under the theme “Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women”.

Panelists in the IAMCR discussion last week were GAMAG members Carolyn Byerly (Howard University and Interim Chair of the GAMAG Research and Policy Committee), Claudia Padovani (University of Padova), Karen Ross (Newcastle University), Lisa McLaughlin (Ohio University), Sandra Chaher (Comunicar Igualdad) and Aimée Vega Montiel (UNAM and Interim Chair of GAMAG).

Chair and discussant of the panel was Guy Berger, director for freedom of expression and media development, UNESCO.

The speakers described the preparation of 17 position papers for GAMAG ahead of the CSW, ranging from media policy and gender through to women in ownership, political participation in media, and social media. 

Aspirations to join state delegations as gender-media experts contributing to CSW were also voiced.

The panel further discussed work by the UNESCO University Network on Gender, media and ICTs which is initiating a research project titled “Envisioning Effective Strategies for Gender Equality in Media and ICT’s Higher Education and Training”.

An update was given on GAMAG’s Research and Policy Committee, and on a new project funded by the European Union to advance gender equality in media by surfacing good practices in countering gender stereotyping.

A mapping of gender and communication policies in 10 Latin American countries showed little progress in the fulfilment of the Beijing Platform of Action objectives of increasing women’s role in media and promoting non-stereotyped portrayals. 

The importance of presenting research at academic conferences and other venues like the World Social Forum was also stressed.