Free Press Unlimited believes that gender equality is essential in achieving a diverse and professional media landscape where journalists function as change agents. Journalists and media workers contribute to the overall vision of a just, inclusive and peaceful society. To men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
Position of female journalists
Like every other sector, the media industry still deals with gender issues on the work floor. Although women are usually not the 'victims' as the media wants us to believe, it does hold true that women more often deal with unsafe situations in the context of their work as media professionals. According to findings of the International News Safety Institute, two thirds of female journalists are harassed and intimidated at their own office, mostly by their male colleagues and bosses.
In relation to decision making, the International Women's Media Foundation found that, overall, men occupy 73% of the top management jobs, with substantial differences between regions and countries. “It's important that we analyse why women are less represented in decision making positions”, says Free Press Unlimted's director Leon Willems, “and come up with interventions to create equal opportunities for women.”
Imbalance between women and men
Gender inequalities manifest not only in the way women and men relate on the work floor or by the numbers on their pay checks. There is also still a huge imbalance in how women and men are represented and portrayed in media content. Too often, media content still portrays women as the weaker sex, either as a victim of violence, or as an object of beauty and fashion. Men on the other hand are still believed to be the stronger sex, always in control and responsible for bringing in the money.
Willems: “Our long term objective is that media and journalists constitute a diverse and professional media landscape, and function as agents of change. We believe gender equality is central to achieving this overall goal.”
Training female journalists
Together with local media organisations, we train female journalists so they can be independent. This is an important step, because often it's the men who have the knowledge or own the recording and montage equipment. The following projects are a good example:
- Mama Sosa. Through this project, 30 Zambian women were trained in how to use media to shed light on their everyday challenges.
- Fellowship programme. This award winning initiative trained women in Bangladesh to become journalists. As a result of their reports, action has been taken to prevent child marriages.
- Citradaya Nita. Female journalists take a stand for neglected groups in Indonesia.
- The Noken Women of Jayapura. This project managed to empower women, strengthen women entrepreneurship and preserve local tradition.
More gender equality in the media
- HerZimbabwe. This online platform fights against gender discrimination in the Zimbabwean society.
- Mitini. This radio soap in Nepal provides young people and their parents with good ways to approach sensitive issues, like child marriages.
- Mama Radio. This project managed to decrease the violation of women's rights in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo .
- More equality for women in the media. This project strives for more equality between men and women in the media in Democratic Republic of Congo; both when it comes to the makers as well as the topics of the program.