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Communication & information

Gender sensitive reporting

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  • Observe

    Media sometimes has a tendency to invite the most well known experts and guests  (often men) while female politicians, experts and other potential sources of information are victims of conformity to this tradition. Similarly, female journalists are not involved enough. To compensate for these gaps, it is first and foremost necessary to monitor the awareness of gender in news coverage and to see in what ways this requirement is respected.

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    -    … the number of female journalists involved in taking decisions and in creating reports.
    -    … the number of guests on debate programs
    -    … the balance in program presentation (ideally one woman and one man, with the same impetus).
    -    …the speaking time of women in programs and reports
    … at least one referee (male or female) on each editorial board to carry out the work of monitoring and observation.
    … the way women are presented in reports, the statements reported, and the functions they hold.

  • Work for better representation

    Once the monitoring work has been accomplished, it is possible to work for the greater involvement and better representation of women in content and production. Ideally, this should translate into a balance between the female and male presence and this requirement should be written into an ethical charter on gender equality in each media organisation.

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    The decision making processes which comes before producing an information program should involve as many women as men.
    Female journalists and camerawomen should be given, as much as possible, opportunities to create reports on significant political, economic, legal and social issues.
    Moderating televised debates, presenting news programs and celebrity gossip should, whenever possible, be carried out by a male and female presenter, at the same time and with the impetus.
    During the creation of reports, female experts should also be invited to give their opinions on significant political, economic, legal and social issues.

  • Introspection

    Journalism is not an exact science and sometimes journalists can describe a reality with concrete facts, and yet it remains influenced by the journalists experiences, convictions, ideas and in particular their prejudices. In essence, a prejudice is simultaneously a representation, a certitude, a source and a part of our personality, which is difficult to be free of. In the creation of editorial content, media professionals often unconsciously create a version of reality influenced by their experiences.
    When creating gender sensitive news content, a journalist (male or female) must question themselves. They must take into consideration all of the elements of their report before determining the way that the information and image is to be treated.

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    Journalists must systematically ask themselves if it is possible to include female sources of information on every issue, not just those relating to gender.
    Ensure that women interviewed are not put into stereotypical situations in reports: kitchens, looking after children, etc.
    Create a neutral composition, without high-angle and low-angle shots
    Use a vocabulary that is…
    Respectful: avoid preconceived ideas on women
    Formal: avoid slang expressions about women
    Neutral: avoid emphasising characteristics linked to femininity
    Precise: speak about « voter », « citizen », and « candidate » to underline their function and avoid using the generic and repetitive « woman ».
    Select raw footage respecting, as far as possible, equal speaking time between men and women.

  • Dealing with issues

    The issue of gender is a topic in journalism, which is interesting and makes people react. Highlighting reports on gender equality issues is, in the short term, a way of getting the debate started amongst television viewers (both male and female) and for example, a way of influencing the political calendar during election time. This contributes to advancing the situation of women in a society. Dealing with this issue means pointing to problems but also to progress made.

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    The issue of violence against women should be dealt with in all of its forms (physical, moral, symbolic) and using progressive examples on the topic
    Issues of economic inequality should show both victims who are women (low salary, job insecurity, etc.) and good practices in the field.
    Issues of social and legal inequality should be dealt with (status of the woman and its change in social contexts and in legal texts) and cases where equality was recognised should be shown.
    Issues of political inequality should be dealt with (equality in institutions, access to decision making positions, etc.) and women should be put forward for leadership roles.

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    • Experts and representatives in the media are often men?
    • The under-representation of women in televised debates is due to:
    • To improve the representation of women in the media, it is necessary to:
    • For better representation in the media, we need:
    • Work on political and economic subjects should only be given to men.
    • To improve the place of women in the media, it is necessary to:
    • Female sources are only useful for subjects relating to gender.
    • A journalist is influenced by…
    • In a report…
    • Handling gender issues in the media influences political debate.
    • Gender issues in the media…
    • Dealing with gender equality issues in the media, is…

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