Women in the News: 'Time to Crack Media Prejudice' Says IFJ

To mark International women’s day the International Federation of Journalists and the its regional branch the European Federation of Journalists are calling for fresh actions by unions and media organisations to end all forms of discrimination that stop women from getting to the top both in media and in professional organizations.

“Despite the feminization of the profession, media houses and journalists unions remain male dominated,” said Pamela Morinière, IFJ Gender Rights Campaign Officer. “This is bad news for working conditions and for quality journalism. One cannot expect media to give a balanced picture of the world population when half of it is subject to willful discrimination, stereotype or institutional neglect”.

The IFJ has welcomed the 2005 Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) initiative, organized by the World Association for Christian Communication and bringing together over 70 countries with hundreds of monitors coding almost 13,000 news stories on television, radio and in print.

The 2005 GMMP indicates that while women stand for 52% of the world population, they only represent 21% of news subjects. The Project also shows that women’s points of views are rarely heard in the topics that dominate the news agenda and women experts barely feature in news stories.

The European Federation of Journalists, the European branch of the IFJ has been working as part of a consortium to develop a video toolkit on gender stereotypes of women politicians and experts on television. “This toolkit will be extraordinarily useful in journalists’ schools and trainings to educate journalists on the need to provide fair portrayal of politicians in the news,” said Morinière.

The IFJ says that journalists’ unions have a key role to play in prioritizing gender portrayal in their agenda. This subject should not be seen as a female topic but rather form part of mainstream discussions on quality journalism which involve both women and men.

“There are a host of problems facing women - bullying, harassment, equal pay and parental leave – that also have an impact on the quality of men’s rights at work,” said Morinière. “Joint efforts to develop stronger gender councils must now be pushed forward through clear and concrete actions”.

For further information contact the IFJ : +32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries