Home News International Women’s Day:  Women still not getting fair share of representation- WACC 

International Women’s Day:  Women still not getting fair share of representation- WACC 

by Church Times

By Gbenga Osinaike

As the world celebrates women today, The World Association of Christian Communications and a host of other non-governmental organisations across the globe have once again brought to the fore the persistent marginalization of women in economic and social lives of nations pointing out that the narrative has to change if the world would make progress. 

The observation was made by participants at the “Gender & media: challenges and opportunities in the Post 2015 era” consultation organized by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)in March 2017.  

The groups which include Nigeria’s Journalists for Christ and Journalists Against Aids noted that despite efforts at closing the gender gap in news media content, there are no indications that appreciable progress has been made over the years.

 In a communique signed by all participants at the conference which held in New York tagged New York Declaration, the organisations noted that though women constitute 50 percent of the world population “they remain only 1 in 4 of the people seen, heard or read about in the news since 2010.  

“Their underrepresentation as news reporters has not changed in 10 years: only 37% of stories are reported by women. The proportion of stories that clearly challenge gender stereotypes has hovered between 3% and 4% since 2005. Women’s relative invisibility in traditional news media has crossed over into digital news delivery platforms.” 

They also observed that “traditional and new electronic media are domains of male, patriarchal power and domination, replete with degrading, humiliating and pornographic contents regarding women”    

The bodies then posit: “We stand for equality, freedom for women, justice, equal access to media resources and against all kind of inequalities, capitalism and neoliberalism.” 

While acknowledging the work of women journalists who despite precarious working conditions and the risk of violence they face, still safeguard the human right to communication, the bodies stated that they are concerned “about the tabloidization and relativization of social and political issues in the media contents that render them trivial, vulgar and unable to fulfil the primary media function of informing the public of the relevant issues.” 

 They also express concern over the rise in religious fundamentalism, terrorism and fascism with their accompanying violence and suppression of women’s voices.”  They expressed concern about media contribution to increasing and intensifying violence against women and girls and their exploitation in the sex industries”                              

 The organisations then called for the promotion of all forms of communication that not only challenge the patriarchal nature of media but strive to decentralize and democratize them.’ 

They argued for a “media that encourage dialogue and debate; media that advance women and creativity; media that reaffirm women’s wisdom and knowledge, and that make people into subjects rather than objects or targets of communication. Media which are responsive to people’s needs.

To address the gaps they recommended “the strengthening of media owned by women. • Increasing opportunities for digital and technical training for women in the area of communications. Eliminating gender stereotypes and hate speech from public media, and continual promoting of gender equality in the media.”   further link: www.whomakesthenews.org.

 

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