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for journalists toolkits
Press Union (CPU)
September 04, 2006
Traditionally, women and men
have been, and in many instances still are, portrayed by the media
according to stereotyped expectations and interpretations of their
roles in society. In patriarchal countries, particularly in the
developing world, this just reinforces the belief that women are
not capable of playing a full role in society, in both public arenas
and the private space of the home.
The twentieth century saw many initiatives
by the international community aimed at raising awareness of the
inferior position that women have in society and the action that
must be taken in order to redress the situation. The Fourth World
Conference on women, held in Beijing in 1996, was the most important
of these initiatives and set the agenda for women's future empowerment.
As a journalist, for fifteen years I
was a senior current affairs producer with the BBC World Service,
I was one of the hundreds of media representatives to attend this
seminal conference in Beijing. It proved to be a turning point in
my own career.
On my return flight to London, I read
the recommendations contained in the Platform for Action. I was
particularly interested in the section about the role of the media
in bringing about change for women. We know that as journalists
we play an important part in defining what people think and what
their place is in society. I realised that if fully briefed about
gender issues and gender sensitive reporting, journalists would
be able to present a clearer and more accurate picture of the contribution
that both women and men make to the development and prosperity of
With funding from Britain's Department
for International Development (DFID), I developed a 'Media Gender
Strategy' for sensitising the print and broadcast media and designed
gender training materials and courses. Since then, in my new role
as a Media and Gender Consultant, I have conducted gender sensitisation
workshops and seminars in Africa, the Caribbean, South and South
East Asia and the Middle East.
This 'Gender for Journalists' toolkit
is based on those training workshops. It is designed to make you
aware of the areas where women are disadvantaged and the role that
men can play in bringing about change. I also give guidance on information
sources and websites that you can turn to and have attempted to
credit the sources I have used. However if I have missed any please
accept my apologies.
I would like to thank the Commonwealth
Press Union, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the Asia-Pacific
Institute for Broadcasting Development for their support.
Media & Gender Consultant, UK
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