On 7-8 December 2015, the International Development Cooperation Meeting on Gender and Media hosted by UNESCO was held in the Palais Des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. It was set to strive towards breaching the gender gap between men and women in the media.
Despite the improvements on the portrayal of women following the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Plan on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, women are still not fairly represented by the media. They are still not fully able to self-express without the criticism. According to a report published in 2015 by The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) , gender inequality has increased from 17% to 24% in the news in a span of 10 years from 1995 to 2005. Also, the percentage of stories in newspapers; television and radio newscasts that are reported by women lies at 37% only.
Women with influence like Ms. Colleen Morna, CEO of the Gender Links, Chair of the GAMAG-ISC and Ms Amina Lzmrini El Ouahabi, President of the HACA in Morocco mentioned the patriarchal culture that creates this gender gap in Media. This culture is thought to be resistant to change. The Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Getachew Engida stated that both the patriarchal culture and changing the men’s mindset is what makes achieving gender equality harder. However, he also stated his view on media’s role by saying “Of course media can be key to achieving equality. The fair representation of both men and women in a society indicates gender equality.”
Further more on gender and media, L. Kretsos, Secretary General of Information and Communication in Greece said “There’s still a lot to be done to breach the gender gap in media.” Gender Equality would be more achievable if gender divides was to be reduced immensely as there would be more opportunities for women to self-express, have a voice and not be disregarded in the media. As Ms. Colleen briefly spoken, “Gender equality is good for freedom of expression, good for democracy and good for business.”
The high officials involved in the meeting all believe that women are still under-presented in the media and throughout taking initiatives like advancing on what has been said in the Beijing Declaration, Gender Equality could be reached sooner than 2030.