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Global Forum on Media and Gender

Central to media development is the recognition that if the media are to accomplish their democratic potential then they should reflect diversity in society and ensure plurality and transparency of ownership and content. All journalists, both female and male, can play a role in creating an enabling environment for promoting gender equality and eliminating gender- based stereotypes in and through media. According to the report of the thematic consultation, Addressing Inequalities - Post 2015 Development Agenda, “Gender-based discrimination and the denial of the rights of women and girls, remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities in today’s world”.

As UNESCO’s contribution to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through media, UNESCO, UN Women, and media and NGO partners from everywhere in the world will organize the first Global Forum on Media and Gender.  This pioneering global event willbe held in Bangkok, from 2 to 4 December 2013 and will be an important follow-up to one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, “Women and the Media Diagnosis”, and its strategic objectives to: increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media; and promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media. One of the key outputs of the Forum will be the establishment of a Global Alliance for Media and Gender and Member States will be encouraged to take steps towards integrating media in national gender policies and strategies according to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.   

Gender-based stereotypes persist in media in many parts of the world. The Global Media Monitoring Project (2010) provides some useful statistics that justify the need for media to mainstream gender equality considerations into their policies and practices:

  • - Only 24% of the people questioned, heard, seen, or read about in the written and audiovisual media are women; 76% are men
  • - Only 13% of stories focus specifically on women
  • - Fewer than one in five experts interviewed by the media are women
  • - 46% of news stories reinforce gender-based stereotypes 
  • - Only 6% of stories highlight issues of gender equality or inequality.


The Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media (2011) supported by UNESCO reveals that, of the sample of media companies studied, only 16% in Eastern Europe, 27% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 69% in Sub-Saharan Africa have company-wide policies on gender equality. Women are under-represented in 73% of the media surveyed in Sub-Saharan Africa, 50% in Asia and Oceania, and 46% in the Americas. This is indicative that there is much more to be achieved.

There is a need for representation at the Forum from all regions of the world and from as many countries as possible. The event will be attended by representatives of media houses, broadcasting and journalists’ unions/associations, community media networks, NGOs advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment, journalism education organizations and other related training institutions, media self-regulatory bodies, policy makers and relevant government bodies.

UNESCO invites donors and other stakeholders to join forces to address one of the most important development issues of our time, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Please visit UNESCO’s website for further information: