International Women’s Day: Prime Time to Put Women in the Media Picture Says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest journalists’ group, says that stereotyping of women in media and the restricted entry of women into the charmed circle and largely male world of management in journalism are key obstacles to gender equality in the media industry.

Despite rising numbers of women working in journalism, the executive floors of mainstream media remain dominated by men with women editors and women managers unequally represented despite their numbers.

The Executive Committee of the IFJ, meeting in Berlin at the weekend has agreed that gender equality will be one of the key themes at the Federation’s triennial congress to be held in Athens in May this year.

“Around the world the struggle for equality in media is a constant battle for recognition of women’s rights,” declared the IFJ in a statement to mark International Women’s Day. “The issue is always there – whether it is in discrimination over jobs and pay or in the diet of sexist and titillating journalism that still contributes to the difficulties faced by women in all sections of society.”

The IFJ has launched an international action plan focused on the regions of the world that aims to challenge policies and practices that do not take account of gender rights within mass media.

“In all areas of media – including within the associations and unions that represent women – there needs to be a cultural shift that will put women into the picture. It is vital that 21st century media challenge the practices and outdated social traditions that restrict the rights of girls and women to play an equal role at work and in society,” says the IFJ.

IFJ regional conferences on gender equality have been held in Kuala Lumpur, Dakar, Durban and Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia on gender equality and another major regional event will take place in Brazil later this month. “Gender equality is a mainstream issue that must be taken seriously by media and the people who work in the industry,” says the IFJ, which agreed at the weekend to give the issue priority in an extensive programme of support for Iraqi journalists.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries