As the Dutch Human Rights Ambassador, Bahia Tahzib-Lie promotes equal rights for women and girls, and stands for an inclusive, diverse media landscape. She believes the media can play an important role in achieving gender equality. “We all need role models, also in the media, to inspire and encourage us in our personal and professional development.”
“In many countries you still see stereotypical imaging, and women in the media are portrayed as mother, victim, housewife or model. Less than 15 percent of all the experts in the media are women. Women are also underrepresented in news and current affairs programmes; for example, only a quarter of people portrayed in the news media worldwide are women.
Due to stereotyping and lack of diversity and gender equality, we run the risk of one-sided reporting. In addition, I find it worrying that in different parts of the world, female journalists are threatened online, because of both their profession and for being women. There is work to be done, globally, to make gender equality the norm in and through the media.
The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take at least another 100 years before gender equality is achieved. That’s utterly ridiculous. The media has a very important, catalysing role in realising and visualising gender equality. The media also has a lot of influence in challenging stereotypes and changing imaging. A more inclusive, gender-balanced representation in and through the media will have a stimulating effect. On girls and young women, and also on boys and men.
Through [media] appearances I show that women are committed to socially important topics, I pass that on to my daughters. My experience as female diplomat is that you can give a supportive nudge to the development and leadership of women and girls. As former ambassador in the Gulf region, I have spoken to numerous women in a male-dominated society and have been able to encourage them to play a much larger, more visible role in that society.
We all need role models, also in the media, to inspire and encourage us in our personal and professional development. Everyone can be a Gender Equality Champion. I invite you to take part and make a difference!”