Newsbrief, TerraViva United Nations

End Media Sexism by 2020, Urges New Study

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 23 2015 (IPS) - “We have to end media sexism by 2020,” said General Secretary of World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) Karin Achtelstetter at the launch of the new Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) report.

GMPP, initiated by WACC and supported by UN Women, has measured trends in women’s participation and representation in media since 1995. Its new report, launched on 23 Nov, is the largest study yet, with data from 114 countries.

According to the report, although there has been some progress, women’s visibility in news has stagnated over the past five years globally.

According to the GMMP, in 2015, women made up only 24 percent of people heard, read about, or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, the same rate found in 2010. The gap is widest in news about politics and governments in which women are 16 percent of those in stories.

The report also found a global glass ceiling for female news reporters, reporting 37 percent of stories in traditional media.

Women are more prevalent in digital news, publishing approximately 42 percent of news online. However, only 26 percent of people in Internet news stories and media news tweets are women, revealing the invisibility of women in both traditional and digital news arenas.

UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka noted the issues in excluding stories about and by women.
“Gender discrimination deprives media coverage of the richness that women’s diverse perspectives can bring, and limits the media’s appeal to increasingly aware audiences around the world,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said in the report.

“We now know that the ways in which women are depicted in news has a profound effect on societal attitudes and reinforces traditional gender roles,” she continued.

The report found that only four percent of new stories challenge gender stereotypes, a one percentage point change since 2005. Women are also still twice as likely as men to be portrayed as victims as they were a decade ago.

“If this glacial pace were to continue, it would still take another 75 years to reach parity,” said UN Women’s Chief of Communications and Advocacy Nanette Braun while urging for action and accountability on the issue during a press conference.

The report puts forth an ambitious action plan to end media sexism by 2020.

Among its recommendations are five key targets to achieve by 2020: 100 percent of national public newsrooms that support gender equality; 50 percent of women’s global presence in news; 30 percent of global news that challenge gender stereotypes; 30 percent of global news highlighting issues of gender (in) equality and; 30 percent of global news anchored in a critical human rights perspective.

In order to achieve these targets, the report highlighted the need for key partnerships, especially with media.
“The survey findings are a wake-up call to media houses and newsrooms,” Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.

“Women and girls are half of humanity. Giving equal time and weight to their stories is an important part of creating a better, freer world for all of us,” she continued.

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