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Thai PBS blazes trail toward greater gender sensitivity





Public broadcaster sets internal guidelines and model to emulate with new manual based on UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM)

Gender parity at every position level, a clear policy against sexual harassment in the workplace and the development of ethics codes that include gender dimensions – these are some of the key recommendations in the Thailand Public Broadcasting Service’s (Thai PBS) newly released Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) manual.

Thai PBS’s GSIM manual serves as both a research-based assessment of the current state of gender sensitivity in media production and content in Thai media, while also setting out steps to be taken to foster parity between men and women within Thai PBS – guidelines that can then be emulated by other broadcasters in Thailand and throughout the region.

The manual was the key outcome of a broader project funded by UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC). The process that led to the manual extended over a one-year period and comprised several stages.

The assessment component derived from research conducted by Thai PBS at six Thai television stations, examining gender ratios, organisational policies, employee attitudes and the working environments of women as well as female representation in news content.

In addition, two seminars took place in 2014 for senior executives and media practitioners at Thai PBS, with inputs from experts. Key points raised during these workshops enriched the researched findings incorporated into the final GSIM manual.

Designed for all forms of media, UNESCO’s GSIM manual outlines a non-prescriptive set of quantitative indicators, such as gender ratios and quotas within organizations, which can provide a clearer picture of gender issues within media.  

When drafting its manual, Thai PBS took into account the country’s sociocultural context and – following a point emphasized during the project workshops – the need to change social attitudes toward women in media content and organizations. As such, Thai PBS included the need to build greater understanding of gender equality among employees into its future internal policies to achieve sustainable progress in this area.

In providing guidance on how to mainstream gender considerations into internal policies and practices, the new manual reinforces women’s role in the newsgathering and news dissemination processes within Thai PBS and beyond.

The manual’s relevance goes beyond the Thai context and is applicable to media organizations throughout Southeast Asia, encouraging them all to pursue a common mission: to reflect the diversity of opinions and interests in society and break up gender-based stereotypes in and through media.