South Africa supports gender equality in media

9 December 2015

Consensus on how all media, including online, can play a vital role in encouraging more gender equality and understanding not only in the global media but also in promoting general social cohesion by the year 2030, is the aim of the first General Assembly of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Alliance on Media and Gender (Gamag).

Gamag is a global movement to promote gender equality in and through the media.

The South African team will be led by the acting director-general of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Johannes Rantete. The team will join other global government media departments, as well as private media organisations, civil society and media academics in Geneva from 8 to 10 December to discuss practical ways to achieve the desired outcomes.

South Africa would use the platform to encourage media houses across the world to involve women in the sourcing, production, delivery, analysis and broadcasting of news to create a global media that better reflected the voices and interests of women, said GCIS.

The objectives of Gamag align closely with the aims of the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030 to actively encourage gender equality through job creation, education and social and health welfare.

The Gamag assembly takes place during 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

Topics to be discussed in presentations and roundtables include the structure and details for a global development co-operation framework on gender and media. The gathering will also look at the effect and importance of the relationship between emerging online media and youth in achieving the goals of Gamag.

Also under discussion will be gender and media as a business and development model, and the strategic link between policy and research on gender and media.

An International Development Co-operation meeting will precede the Gamag gathering, hoping to outline and provide useful indicators on the direction of supporting, enabling and financing gender equality in and through the media.

Both events will aim to provide a platform for dialogue and establish an International Development Co-operation Framework on Gender and Media.

According to Unesco and Gamag, the conference objectives include initiating processes to:

  • Expand the mandate and reach of key stakeholders to promote gender equality through the design of an International Development Co-operation Framework on Gender and Media that can give support to actions at the national, regional and global levels – in particular the activities of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender;
  • Recognise the critical area of concern of the Beijing Declaration, the resolution adopted by the UN in 1995 to promulgate a set of global principles concerning the equality of men and women;
  • Analyse and discuss the declaration’s Platform for Action, as well as the Women and the Media Diagnosis element of the declaration as central to all other critical areas of concern, in order to endorse and build Gamag as a mechanism to accelerate implementation and systematic follow-up; and,
  • Encourage commitment to mainstream or strengthen gender and media objectives in the programmes and budgets of the development partners as well as through their communication strategies of their own media services.

Millennium and Sustainable development goals

The Gamag assembly is an answer to the call for global partnerships as stated in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 8. Also, the mission statement of the conference resonates with the proposed Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17. These are to target 10 concerning measures to promote public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, as well as strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development by the year 2030.

Addis Ababa Action Agenda

The Gamag meeting will also seek to advance the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and Action Plan on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

Decades of research has shown that despite many advancements in gender equality, there remains much work to be done. “Women remain consistently under- represented in media staffing at all levels, in particular in executive decision- making and technical areas, and [are] often misrepresented in editorial content,” GCIS said in a statement about the meeting.

The South African government holds that women are under-represented in media regulatory and professional organisations. It is determined to help the media, traditional and emerging, to promote women’s full participation in the industry. “Media houses and government communications wings have [the] potential to promote editorial policies in favour of gender equality in media content, eliminating stereotypes and portraying a fair representation of men and women.”

GCIS highlighted the need to bring more online access to women in general, around the world, allowing them a voice to speak about what mattered most to them, including health issues, human rights promotion and overall gender equality. In addition to allowing them the platforms to speak, the media, GCIS said, should offer women the information needed to promote their participation in every aspect of life and in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“Media can give women a voice in news and current affairs, in all types of coverage and in all subject segments, including news on war and peace making, finance, science, technology and politics.”

Ultimately, GCIS concluded, the media, working together with governments, the private sector and academia, “must enable time or space for women to express themselves and promote coverage and awareness of gender equality in work, working conditions, and property rights. A high priority [is] the situation of women in conflict zones, as well as violence against women.”

Source: South African Government News Agency