Women and the media
From Practices with Potential to Good Practices in promoting gender equality in the area of Women and the Media – Consultation meeting
Experience Exchange in the context of EIGE’s Study
Collection of methods, tools and good practices in the field of women and the media (as described by area J of Beijing platform for action) in the EU 27 Member States and Croatia
16/17 January 2013
Artis Hotel – Liejyklos str. 11/23 Vilnius, Lithuania
The operational process undertaken to identify 10 examples of good practice in the field of women and the media entails different steps that range from assessing against general criteria of good design and efficiency – related to the specific practice being considered – to criteria directly connected with the field of women and the media and, more specifically, directly connected to the notions of “access and participation to expression” and of “access to and participation in decision-making” that are at the core of this project.
Three different sets of criteria have been developed, corresponding to the three steps of the evaluation process. The 1st and the 2nd sets of criteria are used to identify 20 practices with potential (based on collection of methods and tools from questionnaires); the 3rd set of criteria are meant to be used in the consultation process leading up to the selection of the final 10 examples of good practice. This last set of criteria has been drawn up considering the criteria/elements specific to each of the intervention’s relevant fields: monitoring of access and participation of women to expression; monitoring of access and participation of women to decision-making; self-regulation; gender training and; awareness raising initiatives.
1st set of criteria
Basic elements for defining a practice with potential
embedded within wider gender main-streaming strategy
The 1st set of criteria are basic elements which, according to EIGE methodology, should be present so that a practice can be considered as a ‘promising practice’ or a ‘practice with potential’. These are as follows:
The first two criteria – works well and transferability – are general good-design and efficiency criteria . In particular, in the the assessment of the practices’ efficacy, the criteria works well, focuses on:
- Relevance: objectives are consistent with beneficiaries’ gender-equality needs and priorities
- Efficiency: the minimum necessary amount of resources/inputs(funds, expertise, time, etc.) are used to produce results
- Effectiveness: gender equality objectives initially set for the intervention have been achieved and intended beneficiaries are able to take advantage of the changes
- Impact: it can be demonstrated that a significant increase in gender equality took place
- Sustainability: both regarding the intervention’s continuation and the permanence of the results it has produced after the end of the initiative
The third criterion, learning potential highlights the importance of the practice’s potentiality to be used as learning tool that may capacity build stakeholders.
The last criterion: emphasises the importance that a practice can be embedded in a wider gender main-streaming strategy and that can guarantee a structured approach and continuity over time and possibly attract financing.
2nd set of criteria
Women’s participation and access to expression and decision making specific criteria
common for all practices with potential
|1. Approach centred on the role of women in the social construction of reality|
|2. Clear, appropriate, comprehensive definition of women’s access and participation to expression in and through the media|
|3. Enables women to access prestigious roles in and through the media|
|4. Enables women to access all the professional roles involved in media production|
|5. Increases women’s chances of having a voice in all the thematic domains covered by media|
|6. Contrasts women’s segregation in the thematic domains considered to be for women’s interest/expertise only|
|7. Increases women’s chances of having a voice in all the media products|
|8. Clear, appropriate, comprehensive definition of women’s access and participation to decision-making within media organisations|
|9. Promotes balanced participation of women in decision-making within media organisations (understood as access to top level positions and to the highest editorial positions, entitled with responsibility and agency in media policy making and production)|
|10. Increases the attention given to women’s social, economic and cultural issues|
|11. Promotes the creation of women’s formal or informal networks|
|12. Promotes work/life balance and worker’s well-being|
|13. Promotes women’s careers within media organisations at any level|
|14. Ensuring gender equality by promoting the transparent organisation of work, based on clearly-defined and shared criteria in evaluation and tasks management|
|15. Acknowledges and contrasting forms of multiple discrimination that intersect gender discrimination|
The 2nd set of criteria encompasses criteria that are meant to integrate those of the 1st set by focusing on the specific field of women and the media. In particular, following our understanding of the assignment, these criteria have been elaborated in order to assess whether a method/tool – regardless of specific area of intervention it falls under – has a potential to promote women’s participation and access to expression and decision-making in and through media.
The overall approach underpinning the elaboration of the 2nd set of criteria was cantered on the role of women in the social construction of reality; such an approach is clearly formulated in Criterion n. 1: the background requisite for a method/tool to be considered a ‘practice with potential’ is the contribution it gives to enhancing the role of women in mediated representation, interpretation and analysis of reality. A practice with potential, according to this criterion, enables women to express their voice about current issues and about issues of collective interest; it enables women’s access to the media products that are more relevant in providing pictures of the world, shaping common knowledge and influencing public opinion. Reference here is mostly to ‘factual genres’ (news genres/formats, forms of documentary and current affairs productions) but fictional genres representing social reality and addressing the problems of everyday life are considered relevant as well.
According to the Criterion n. 2, in order to consider a method/tool as a practice with potential it has to be grounded in a clear definition of ‘expression’ that, in our view, means ‘creation of meaning’, ‘expression of one’s personal voice/opinion’, ‘expression of one’s personal expertise and intellectual skills’. The two dimensions of ‘expression’ that are important in this context are: a) expression ‘in’ media: participation of women in the creation of media products; b) expression ‘through’ the media: the weight of women’s voices within media content. Practices with potential, in our view, increase women’s access to production and/or to content in all types of media products, in all types of thematic domains/subjects, and in all the professional roles.
Criterion n. 3. A practice with potential enables women to obtain roles enhancing their opinion-leadership, competence and intellectual skills in a plurality of areas. It increases women’s access to roles, in and through the media, enabling them to express their voice and view-point on a plurality of subjects/topics. Focus here is on anchors, journalist, reporters, experts; women quoted as primary source in news and media contents.
Criterion n. 4. The practice increases access of women to all the roles involved in media production, with particular reference to those enabling to express one’s voice, creative and interpretative skills or technical competences. Focus here is on: anchors, journalists, reporters, text writers, screenplay writers, dialogues writers, responsible for TV and radio grids, camera operators, video editing operators, photographers, video makers, schedules-makers, etc.
Criterion n. 5. It is important that women’s access to expression, in and through the media, is defined with regard to a wide array of topics, and particularly with regard to: current issues and the public sphere issues, the subjects of ‘hard news’ (politics, economics, business, international affairs, current affairs), the domains of expertise that are traditionally male-dominated (science, technology, philosophy, social criticism), the ‘high culture’ domains (‘high’ literature, essay cinema, etc.)
Criterion n. 6. Preventing segregation, in and through the media, of women’s voices and expertise in the private sphere issues (child bearing, family and interpersonal relationships), in ‘soft’ stories (arts, lifestyle, celebrity, etc.), in ‘pink issues’ (fashion, body, interior design, housekeeping, women’s cultural production) is key to women’s access to expression
Criterion n. 7. The practice increases women’s access to expression in and through all the media products, with particular reference to those committed to provide pictures of the world that are relevant to shaping public opinion (news genres/formats, ranging from infotainment to ‘high quality’ journalism; factual entertainment and fictional products that represent different aspects of the contemporary world and everyday life; political and social satire).
Criterion n. 8 needs a more detailed explanation, as it concern decision-making. As in the case of ‘access and participation to expression’, we believe that any practice with potential needs to be grounded in a clear definition of ‘decision-making’, here this is to be understood to be access to top level positions (e. g. general managers, chief executive officers, heads of human resources) and high editorial positions, entitled with responsibility in media policy making and production. Such position are particularly relevant because, with regard to news making, they put into practice the ‘gate-keeping’ and ‘agenda-setting’ functions of the media (their power to set the priority issues/topics in the public debate); more generally, those roles entitled to decide which social phenomena, actors and (power) relations will be ‘visible’ and which will not.
Criterion n. 9 specifies the professional roles endowed with decision-making power: general managers, chief executive officers, heads of human resources. A good practice promotes women’s access to the highest editorial positions. For broadcast media, these are the following: producers, executive producers, channel editor, deputy editor (in public broadcasting only), responsible for a section/genre, such as news, entertainment, etc.; responsible for programming; program director (for radio), broadcast programming manager (for TV); for print media: editor, editor in chief, deputy editor; for on line media: editor in chief, deputy editor.
Criterion n. 10 is more general, aiming at verifying whether the tool/method is capable of increasing the attention given to women’s social, economic and cultural issues. A good practice should aim to ‘make room’ for these issues in the vast array of media products and genres. Good practice promotes the expression of a gendered perspective in addressing the vast array of topics. Good practice encourages the constitution of new ‘spaces’ dedicated to these issues (radio and TV programs, newspapers pages, blogs, etc.).
An important specification concerns the application of criteria 1-10 in the selection of practices with potential: within the context of media work organisation and contents, ‘access and participation to expression’ and ‘access and participation to decision-making’ two very different aspects could be identified. It can be argued that a practice that increases the number of women in decision-making bodies within media organisations – for instance, a code of conduct or another self-regulation tool – is also a practice that increases women’s access to expression in and/or through the media; yet the opposite is not automatically true: a practice that has proved to have a positive impact, for example, on the number of women featuring as reporters in TV news broadcasts does not have any impact, per se, on decision-making as well, as reporters are not professional figures endowed with decision-making power. For these reasons, whereas a method/tool pertinent to the decision-making dimension was expected to satisfy many of the criteria 1 to 10, a method/tool related to the dimension of ‘expression’ was expected to satisfy criteria 1 to 7 plus criterion 10.
Finally, criteria 11-15 are important features of a practice with potential, but we did not necessarily expect them to be present in all practices, as they identify gender equality issues that are not only specific to the organisation of work within media industries.
Criterion n. 11. It is important that through the practices the creation of women’s networks, mentoring, and overseeing committees is encouraged.
Criterion n. 12. Any practice approach and strategy should aim to create favourable conditions for workers, independently of their gender, as well as an inclusive working environment.
Criterion n. 13. Any practice approach and strategy should have as a clearly-stated and explicit goal to promote women’s career opportunities within media organisations.
Criterion n. 14. Any practice approach and strategy which contrasts tacit forms of discrimination, in promotion and in tasks assignment, based on gender, race, sexual orientation and other personal conditions. A good practice contrasts promotions and tasks management based on personal preferences/prejudices. Women’s chances to experience gender discrimination are increased by the non transparent organisation of work.
Criterion n. 15. Any practice approach and strategy which attempts to favour those who are the object of multiple discrimination based on their gender, race, sexual orientation and other personal conditions (e. g. migrant women, lesbian women, women with a disability).
3rd set of criteria
Practices with potential specific elements for the field of intervention
|Monitoring of access of women to expression||Monitoring of access of women to decision making||Self-regulation
for gender equality
|Clear definition of the monitoring purposes||Clear definition of the monitoring purposes||Self-regulation tools intended to increase women’s access to roles enhancing their intellectual skills and competences||Clear definition of gender training purposes||Clear definition of awareness-raising goal(s)|
|Monitoring grounded in a clear definition of ‘access to expression’||Monitoring grounded in a clear definition of ‘access to decision-making’||Self-regulation tools intended to give women a voice in the media products that are more relevant in public-opinion shaping||Well-developed strategy||Clearly defined target|
|Monitoring conducted on a regular basis||Monitoring conducted on a regular basis||Self-regulation tools intended to promote women’s participation in media production process at any level||Well-designed agenda||Clear message|
|Dissemination of monitoring results||Dissemination of monitoring results||Self-regulation tools intended to promote access of women to decision-making in media||Addressing real problems||Cantered on women’s expertise and skills|
|Monitoring conducted using a clearly-defined and consistent methodological approach||Monitoring conducted using a clearly-defined and consistent methodological approach||Self-regulation tools aiming to promote a transparent organisation of work, based on clearly-defined and shared criteria in promotion and tasks management||Not holding women responsible for discrimination||Well disseminated|
|Involvement of gender experts and media experts in monitoring||Involvement of gender experts and media experts in monitoring||Stable, long-lasting nature of self-regulation tools adopted to redress gender imbalances. Strong basis in women and the media issues||‘Gender and the media’ specific content||Addressing gender imbalance as a community problem|
|Strong basis in women and the media issues||Gender skills and expertise of trainers|
Lastly, the 3rd set of criteria are intended to be used in the consultation process leading to the selection of the 10 examples of good practice. This last set of criteria has been drawn up taking into consideration the criteria/elements specific to each relevant intervention field: monitoring of access and participation of women to expression; monitoring of access and participation of women to decision-making; self-regulation, gender training and; awareness raising initiatives. The criteria of each intervention field have been developed balancing the need for overall requisites (e.g., well-developed strategy, clear definition of target and message) with the specific requisites coming from women and the media sector.