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Advocating gender equality in media

Jun 08, 2009

Getting the balance right is an illustrated resource handbook by UNESCO, which deals in gender issues in media. The document assesses the key challenges faced by female journalists and the need for concrete policies for ensuring more equality in mainstream media.

Getting the balance right: gender equality in journalism

Publisher: International Federation of Journalists, 2009

Presently more women than ever are working in media. But they do not play an equal role in the reporting process and only few women journalist write or cover “hard” news. According to the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), a global survey taken every five years, 57% of all television news presenters were women by 2005, yet only 29% of news items were written by female reporters.

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In spite of the progress made over the last 25 years media still churns out female stereotypes that limit the power of women in society. In many countries women are strongly represented in newsrooms but media are still very male dominated when the top positions are examined.

Women are marginalised in the news both in the content of the jobs they do and in the opportunities they have to make their way in the profession. They are even marginalised in the unions that represent them.

This booklet provides useful inputs to the armoury of people within journalism who are fighting discrimination and championing journalistic standards. Battles for equality are being fought in every country. It takes argument, debate, training and practical commitment to confront discrimination.

This handbook is a timely, illustrated and easy-to-read guide for understanding the gender issues in media.The book will assist people working in the media to assess progress on gender equality, identify challenges, and contribute to local, regional and global debates leading to the formulation of concrete policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide.

A host of tips are provided in the manual for achieving more gender equality in media:

Leadership: Map your workplace.

Equal opportunity legislation should ensure that women journalists get the same access to jobs, promotion and training opportunities as men.
Pay audits may be the only way to find out whether there is a gender pay gap within a company.

Health and safety assessments are useful tools for assessing the depth and degree of the risks faced at work.

Flexible work allows a person to complete a number of works but within working hours that suit.

ILO Maternity convention 183 entitles all women to a minimum 14 weeks paid maternity leave.

Late-night shift assignments should be compensated by late-night transport home for women and men.

Dignity at work clauses help to combat bullying, harassment and discrimination faced by many in high-pressure newsrooms and media companies.

Source : UNESCO
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