IFJ calls for stronger female representation in the media and unions

Today, on International Women’s Day the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls for necessary and substantial improvement of women’s representation in the media and the unions that represent them at work.

Credit: IFJ

“If we want to improve quality journalism, then the media must also accurately reflect society in its ranks. It is only when we have genuine equality inside our media operations and institutions that this can truly be achieved,” said IFJ.

The #IFJ WomenLead campaign is part of the IFJ Asia Pacific’s ongoing work to focus on the vital role that unions have in representing women journalists’ rights at work. Releasing figures today on women’s representation in media unions, the IFJ said that women journalists currently represent 31% of all members in journalist unions and media associations in the Asia-Pacific, yet they occupied just 24% of positions on executive committees. More work is needed and changes are happening in unions that are active and committed to a gender equality agenda.

The IFJ said despite digital disruption and massive media job losses, membership in journalist unions continues to grow in the Asia-Pacific. Women’s membership also continues to grow, increasing by 20% since 2015 - compared to an overall growth in union membership of 7%.

These are the wins the IFJ is celebrating today on International Women’s Day.

Of its members, 37% of IFJ affiliates have already introduced gender quotas for executive bodies, and more than 40% of IFJ affiliates have established gender policies in place:

  • In Japan, Shinburoren is introducing a gender quota – with a minimum 10 women on executive committee – to be introduced in next 12 months
  • In Nepal, the Nepal Press Union is increasing its gender quota to 30% and the Federation of Nepali Journalists increased its executive, with one female vice president.
  • In Taiwan, while it has no quota system, the Association of Taiwan Journalists has more than 50% of its executive represented by women journalists
  • In Myanmar, the Myanmar Journalist Association has a minimum 30% gender quota on its executive
  • In Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association has a 30% quota in executive positions and at least five of its provincial branch leaders are women.

IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “Ahead of UN Beijing + 25 we must make a difference and call on media and unions to do everything they can to advance women in the media. The future of journalism cannot be addressed without looking into our daily routines and leadership habits towards women. Let’s make a change and look into our own structures, as unions, to make sure women are fairly represented at all levels and that we adopt strong policies securing gender equality. Ahead of our world congress in Tunis this June, I call on all our affiliates to send gender balanced delegations and support women being elected in our board.”

See the latest from the IFJ here and here.

Share your stories and activities from IWD with the IFJ (alex.hearne[at]ifj-asia.org 

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram