March 19, 2010

Statement and Call to Action by WACC on International Women’s Day, 2010

Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all’ is the global United Nations theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).

Since 1911, the IWD has been a day to celebrate achievements in women’s empowerment. It has also been a day to reflect on women’s struggles and the structural barriers that continue to impede women’s progress.

One arena of struggle is media, where unfair and unbalanced gender representation has continued to impede women’s progress towards gender equality. Over the past fifteen years progress towards gender-responsive media has been painfully slow, as demonstrated by the preliminary research results of the Fourth Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP 2010).

In 1995 only 17% of the persons seen, heard, or read about in mainstream radio, television and print news were women. Fifteen years later, women’s presence in the news remains dismally low; they constitute only 24% - less than one quarter - of the total number of people the news.

The rate of progress in other indicators of gender in the news has been equally slow. In indicators on the sex disaggregation of reporters in news stories for instance, 15 years ago 28% of news stories were reported by women. In 2010, the statistic has risen to 37%, an increase of only 9% over 15 years, or 0.6% per year.  More evidence on the slow progress is documented in Who Makes the News? Global Media Monitoring Project 2010 Preliminary Report.

WACC calls on individuals, groups and organisations to act in order to accelerate the pace of progress towards gender-equal, gender-fair media. Download the preliminary report to use as evidence for advocacy and training to hasten the rate of change.  Participate in this year’s UNESCO’s Women Make the News campaign, themed ‘Towards Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media: Best practices for gender perspective in media and in media content’.  Share your experiences in training, advocacy or other actions with us for dissemination through the next issue of WACC’s Media & Gender Monitor newsletter.

WACC wishes you a successful and memorable international women’s day 2010.

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