Women and the Media

beijing+20 Women and the Media

Journalism workshop for digital media in Koinonia Community Centre, Paarl, Southafrica. Photo: KimNowacki@flickr. Creative Commons License LogoThis image is licensed under Creative Commons License.

As far back as 1995, it was clear that progress made in information technology was driving the emergence of a global communications network. The potential for the media to make a far greater contribution towards promoting women has been explicitly stated in the Platform for Action. The strategic objectives set out there

  • Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication
  • Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media

have found very limited implementation.

Today, we can see that digital media may have repeatedly changed forms of social interaction and self-portrayal in the virtual world – with far-reaching impact on gender images and identities – yet the new means and possibilities have done nothing to change the patriarchal power structures that prevail there.

Whilst women have since become more prominent in the media, they rarely occupy leading positions and have very limited means of helping to shape media politics. Moreover, they still battle sexualized and stereotypical portrayals within the traditional and new digital media. Further aggravating the situation are new challenges from new forms of exclusion and discrimination that have arisen through digital media and were unforeseeable 20 years ago.


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Video: Beijing+20 in South Africa

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Humaira Saqib is the chairwoman and editor-in-chief of Women News Agency and Nigah-e Zan magazine. She is also a member of the leadership board of the “Women Political Participation Committee” and a member of “Afghanistan 1400.” In the interview she talks about the political future of women in Afghanistan.

“Soft” feminism via the mass media

In 1988, five women journalists wanted to go beyond simply producing feminist monthly supplements. They were determined to put the realities of women’s lives onto the front page, and get gender relations taken into account everywhere in the male-dominated country of Mexico.

Good to Know

  • Progress of the World's Women 2015/2016: detailed report by the UN Women on the economical barriers facing women, and strategies of improving the political participation of women on a global scale. more>>
  • Beijing Platform for Action
    Read the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action here
    An overview the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern by the UN Women. more>>
  • Women in Armed Conflicts: in the context of the CSW 59, the GWI co-hosted an event at concering a pressing issue for the Platform - women in armed conflicts. more>>


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