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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

UNESCO launches Women Make the News 2012 initiative to highlight rural women's access to information



The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has endorsed UNESCO's Women Make the News 2012 initiative, to be celebrated Thursday, March 8, in connection with International Women's Day. This year's theme focuses on rural women's access to media and information.

The Women Make the News global advocacy initiative, aimed at promoting gender equality in the media, continues through April 30, and encourages journalists, media organizations, professional associations, policy consultants, and non-governmental organizations to consider how rural women actually access media in their own communities, whether community media and new technologies are helping, and whether rural women are in charge of media programming, production and broadcasting.

The goal, according to UNESCO's announcement, is to "underscore and stimulate knowledge exchange on: the importance of policies in favor of access to media and information in rural communities, particularly for women; and good practices undertaken by public service broadcasters, commercial and community media, and NGOs."

Such an initiative is important when considering the following:

  • Only 13 percent of stories focus specifically on women; 24% of the people questioned, heard, seen, or read about in the written and audiovisual media are women; and 46% of news stories reinforce gender stereotypes, according to the Global Media Monitoring Project 2010. This is despite the fact that women comprise more than 50 percent of rural communities.
  • Just 36 percent of reporting jobs worldwide are filled by women, and only 27 percent of top management jobs at media companies are held by women, according to the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media 2011.
  • When considering the Americas, the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media 2011 found "a pervasive pattern of women’s under-representation across the region." Similarly, the 2012 Report on the Status of Women in U.S. Media showed that the U.S. media industry still is dominated by men.

See here for 13 ways to participate in the initiative.



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