Macharia from the World
Association for Christian Communication
(WACC) summaries the
outcomes of the panel discussion on the Fourth Global Media
Monitoring Project (GMMP), which took place on March 2 in New York on
the occasion of the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of
Women (CSW): “You may be aware the GMMP is a longitudinal study
running since 1995 on gender in the world news media. The research is
implemented in 5-year cycles, to capture a one-day snapshot of gender
representation and portrayal in the news across participating
countries. 130 countries took part in GMMP 2010, an increase from 76
in 2005, 70 in 2000 and 71 in 1995. The WACC in collaboration with UNIFEM organised
a parallel session at the 54th
CSW to present and debate the preliminary findings.” 

the key findings: Only 24% of the people interviewed, heard, seen or
read about in mainstream television, radio and print news are female.
This is a significant change from 1995 when only 17% of the people in
the news were women. On the one hand the pace of increase in women’s
visibility in the news has been maintained over the past decade. On
the other hand the largest rise in women’s visibility is in stories
of low priority on the hierarchy of news media agenda priorities.

a significant component of the increase can be attributed to a
notable rise in women as ordinary people providing  popular
opinion, and much less to women’s voices as ‘experts’. Analysis
of media coverage on selected issues of special concerns to women
contained in the Beijing Platform for Action reveals such issues
receive an average of less than 1.5% media attention each. Another
finding is that almost one half (48%) of all news stories reinforce
gender stereotypes while only 8% challenge such stereotypes.  

Ms. Saniye Gülser Corat (Director, Division for Gender Equality,
Bureau of Strategic of Planning, UNESCO) said gender equality is one
of two global priorities for UNESCO. She illustrated UNESCO’s work
on gender and the media with examples, such as the annual ‘Women
make the news campaign
’ directly inspired by Section ‘J’.
She invited reflection on indicators for media to measure the gender
responsiveness of their output.

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls of femLINKpacific
Media Initiatives for Women in Fiji highlighted the need to integrate
Section ‘J’ in regional and national action plans, and the need
to support women’s media networks.

Sanjay Suri, Editor in Chief of InterPress
invoked debate that sharpened counter-arguments on the
claim that the news agenda cannot be faulted for imbalanced
representation because the world reported is imbalanced.

moderator Joanne Sandler (Deputy Executive Director, UNIFEM) stirred
reflection on the kind of media aspired for by social justice
activists. The panel discussion and debate came to a close with
Sandler’s strong recommendation to ensure the issues raised become
clearly visible at the Millennium Development Goals Review Summit
scheduled for September, 2010.

complete preliminary report is available at
(English only), with highlights in French and Spanish.

Sarah Macharia

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