From IWTC Women's GlobalNet #245, 23 February, 2004

At its forty-eighth session, 1-12 March, 2004, the UN Commission on the 
Status of Women (CSW), will review the thematic issue of "women's equal 
participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution 
and in post-conflict peace-building". The UN Division for the Advancement of Women organized, in collaboration with the Office of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Department of Political Affairs, an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on "Peace agreements as a means for promoting gender equality and ensuring participation of women —A framework of model provisions," in Ottawa, Canada from 10 -13 November 2003. A major background document was Security Council resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security.

Because of the length of the report, we will be presenting a summary in 
two parts. Part one includes recommendations relating to the role of:

  • the mediator brought in to mediate conflicts
  • parties to the conflict
  • funding entities and
  • regional and international organizations.

Part two will focus on the obligations of content of peace agreements with regard to security — legal, political and physical security.

Summary of recommendations adopted by the EGM (part one)

The mediator: In order to successfully implement her/his mandate, the 
mediator will acquire and use:

  1. Data on the gender composition of the various fighting forces at the table, especially at the leadership level.
  2. Historical background, mapping of the conflict incorporating gender-specific data and information, and oral and written briefings on the experiences of women in the conflict.
  3. Identification of existing civil society groups and networks, including regional networks, from a cross-section of society.
  4. Information kit with all international and relevant regional legal instruments pertaining to the promotion of gender equality and women's participation

Parties to the conflict: Parties to the conflict are likewise expected to take specific action in support of gender equality and the participation of women, and must:

  1. Participate in a training/briefing on how to integrate the obligations of 1325.
  2. Ensure gender balance in the composition of their delegations.

Funding entities: Can contribute by:

  1. Ensuring funding for the high-level gender adviser to the mediator and allocate resources for the adviser's activities.
  2. Supporting corrective actions that the mediation team and/or other stakeholders in the negotiations may take to ensure integration of a gender perspective and strengthen women's participation.
  3. Making the inclusion of initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and women's participation a prerequisite for project funding.
  4. Creating an appropriate mechanism to ensure accountability of funding recipients for the implementation of the gender-specific elements of projects.
  5. Giving equal priority to projects aimed at empowering women's civil society organizations in conflict situations to prepare themselves for effective participation in peace negotiations through a national consultative process, the creation of national level networks, capacity building and other preparatory steps. To this end, create and sustain a dedicated Fund.

Regional and international organizations: Should take the following 

  1. Support women's associations in their efforts to organize themselves so as to ensure their effective participation in peace negotiations.
  2. Participate in a training/ briefing on how to integrate the obligations of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) in formal and informal mediation processes.
  3. Support the mediator in the effective performance of the tasks assigned to her/him under section 1 above.
  4. Take corrective action to include promotion of gender equality and 
    women's participation in all stages of negotiation processes, both 
    formal and informal, already underway, in compliance with the present 
  5. Set an example of excellence in regard to the gender-balanced composition of their staff.

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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 17:27

Status of Women in Media in Nepal : a report

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The Governments including Nepal, which came together at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in June 2000, also called Beijing + 5, reaffirmed their commitment to the goals and objectives contained in the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted in the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The Governments had recognised that the goals and commitments made in the Platform for Action have not been fully implemented and achieved, and agreed upon further actions and initiatives at local, national, regional and international levels to accelerate its implementation and to ensure that commitments for gender equality, development and peace are fully realised. In the context of Women and Media the Governments reaffirmed their commitment particularly to increasing the participation and access of women to expression and decision making and promoting the varied positive role played by women in the society.

Nepal was a party to the above General Assembly reaffirming its strong commitment to abide by the Beijing Platform for Action and accelerate its effective implementation. However, in spite of various national and international commitments, no significant policy changes or programs are actually observed in terms of increasing women's participation in the media or in bringing about change in the stereotypical role of women in Nepal.

The convergence of new media technologies and influx of private media organisations in the last decade has increased the number of women working in both print and electronic media. However, women have not gained parity with men in terms of participation and decision making. Top management is still entirely male dominated and patriarchal with only a negligible number of women holding senior positions. Although women have become more visible particularly in radio and television as presenters, announcers and reporters, the gender division of labour is highly pronounced in production, creative and technical departments, which are male dominated. The presence of women is also absent in any official commissions, boards or committees formed for formulating policies or monitoring the media.

New ICTs have emerged which provide opportunities to share information and resources, and link and network with each other faster. But women's presence in this new communication space still lags far behind. Access to this new medium is particularly difficult for women in poorer and less urbanised areas where telecommunications infrastructure is poor and unaffordable. Lack of skills, training and language accessibility also serves as major deterrents.

In the past few years there has been a comparatively improved and increased reportage of issues related to women in the media. News related to women though still marginal has started to occasionally occupy important slots like the editorial, feature news, front-page news etc. However, women's visibility in the news is still dominated by sensational stories of rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of violence. Such portrayals have only served to reinforce, rather than challenge, men's suppression of women.

With increased voices and protests from active women's groups, some of the the negative portrayal and representation of women has become quite subtle and insidious in the last few years. But rarely does the media present women as contributors to the development process or as professionals in their own field. They are still predominantly portrayed as being victim, subservient, dependent, nurturing, selfless, sacrificing mother and wife or as a commodity. The lack of a truly gender sensitive appreciation and analysis of women's issues by both men and women in media has allowed exploitative and derogatory images of women in media to continue.

The Press Council is the official monitoring body for any violation of media code of conduct. But it usually addresses general media issues and has not exhibited any serious attention to improving media's portrayal and representation of women. Also there is no representation of women in the Press Council.

Division of Labour and Working Environment
Where earlier it was almost impossible to find a woman reporting on politics and economy now few young women have emerged who are reporting on such issues. However, the gender division of labour is still very much evident in the way coverage of stories is assigned in most media organisations. Women still tend to be assigned to "soft issues" such as culture, art, lifestyle while men are assigned to political and economic stories which are considered more as "real issues."

Although the number of women entering media is increasing, stereotyped attitudes, sexual harassment, unfair treatment in assignments and promotions, traditional gender hierarchies, lack of support mechanisms for working women pose as obstacles that hinder women from joining the media or assuming decision making positions. Though there has been no authentic research to justify the fact, many have felt that the widespread cases of sexual harassment within media organisations has been a means to control and exclude women from occupying key positions in the industry.

Some Positive Initiatives
Inspite of the dismal picture, some proactive steps for promoting gender integration have been taken by media organisations and institutes. Gender training for journalists have been conducted throughout the country. A number of media institutes have evolved in the past few years. Though they do not have special policy for increasing women's participation they do encourage their participation which has led to an increase in the number of women receiving training in the field of media. These institutes have also incorporated special classes on gender and women in their curricula. There have been some training programs catering solely to women. These definitely need to be increased. A number of feature services on issues related to women with the objective of mainstreaming gender issues are taken out every month. The articles from the feature service are given considerable importance by the daily and weekly papers. There have been some publications on women's issues and the media, which are being used as educational as well as advocacy tool. The print media has been consistently monitored and journalists sensitised against negative reports affecting women. The monitoring of electronic media is also being initiated.

All these efforts through vigilant women's organisations and movements have paved the way for uplifting the status of women in a hitherto patriarchal society. However, a stronger political will and more vibrant voice is required to translate the commitments made at national and international levels into reality .

Bandana Rana
Sancharika Samuha

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Screening Gender

Screening Gender is a co-production of NOS/Netherlands, NRK/Norway, SVT/Sweden, YLE/Finland, DR/Denmark and ZDF/Germany, with financial support from the European Commission's Fourth Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. NOS was responsible for coordination of the CD-rom version of Screening Gender. The training kit has been produced within a three-year project Promoting Good Practice in Gender Portrayal in Television, 1997 - 2000.

Studies have shown that images of men and women seen on television are more stereotyped than real. Based on the conviction that non-stereotypical gender representation is a vital element in quality programming, this project selected programme examples to illustrate common patterns in gender portrayal. The material also demonstrates alternative approaches to programme production. The kit is primarily aimed at media professionals for use in training, as well as in programme development and evaluation.

For more information about the project, as well as to order a copy of the CD-rom, click here.

Tuesday, 07 January 2014 17:21

Women and the media at the United Nations 2003

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The participation and access of women to the media is among the themes to be addressed by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women during its 47th annual session. The CSW, an inter-governmental body comprising 45 member states, assemble at the UN headquarters in New York on March 3 for its customary two-week session.

A critical part of the Commission's work is its contribution to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women held in the Chinese capital in 1995. Section J of the Beijing document relates to women and the media.

This year the Commission is expected to review two thematic issues:

  1. "Participation and access of women to the media, and information and communication technologies, and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women."
  2. "Women's human rights and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Two expert group meetings were organised by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, in association with other UN entities, in preparation for the gender and media theme at the CSW session. One, which concentrated on information and communication technologies (ICTs), was held in Seoul from November 11 to 14, 2002; the other, which focussed on the participation and access of women to the media, was held in Beirut from November 12 to 15.


The Beirut meeting, which was attended by 19 women from different parts of the world, besides several members of the UN system, was a rewarding experience for most participants. The remarkable consensus that characterised the meeting had much to do with the apparent convergence in understanding and approach among women working in different ways in different types of organisations in different countries marked by different social, cultural, economic and political environments, as well as different media and communications systems.

The most interesting aspect of this meeting of minds on gender and the media was the revelation that thinking across the globe had moved forward and outward. The fresh thinking reflected a clear-eyed appreciation of the fact that the dramatic transformations in the global media system in recent times had fundamentally altered the media and communication scenario.

Participants agreed that the changed circumstances demanded a broader framework for understanding and dealing with issues relating to women's access to and participation in media and communication. They suggested that the question of women and / in the media had to be placed within the context of democracy and development, incorporating the concept of women's rights as human rights.

They pointed out that since both the status of women and the status of the media were critical to development and democracy, debates about women's rights, on the one hand, and communications systems, on the other, needed to be integrated. They proposed that women's concerns about their access to media and their right to freedom of expression and communication be acknowledged and taken into account in all discussions on matters relating to the freedom, ownership and control, and structures of the media.

It became clear that, in this context, traditional questions relating to the portrayal of women in the media and the entry of women into media professions could no longer be seen or tackled in isolation. While concerns about these critical issues remain relevant, and were indeed discussed in considerable detail, the fresh approaches that emerged at the meeting demonstrated a more holistic understanding of media and communication systems which, in turn, had spawned more pragmatic goals and strategies.

Four documents from the Beirut meeting, which elaborate these ideas, can be found on the UN Women website, in addition to the official final report emerging from the EGM, they include two backgrounders on the global situation as well as an online discussion relating to women and/in the media, and one paper on issues of access and decision-making in the media in India.


Tuesday, 07 January 2014 16:07

Gender pay gap must end, says IFJ 2012

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March 7, 2012: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) marked the 101st International Women's Day by calling on media organisations to end the persisting gender pay gap in journalism. The IFJ published, jointly with WageIndicator, Gender Pay Gap in Journalism, a global report which shows that women journalists continue to face persisting discrimination in wages and benefits.


"The struggle for equality in media remains the reality," says Beth Costa, IFJ general secretary. "The report proved that little progress has been made to end [the] gender pay gap."


According to the report, women journalists are paid 17% less than male colleagues in Europe, 9% less in former Soviet Union countries and 4% less in South America. In addition, women journalists receive less employment benefits (such as health insurance, pension and holiday allowance), which aggravates the inequality in wage levels. As a result, women journalists are less satisfied with their jobs and working conditions. 


The report points out that the pay gap increases with age. Women aged 30 and 45 years face the biggest pay gap when they stay out of a job to take care of children and thus accumulate less tenure for pension and lose seniority. 


Further, "Women journalists face the same dangers as male colleagues, and are sometimes more vulnerable to harassment and bullying, yet they are paid less for the work of equal value," says Mindy Ran, chair of the IFJ Gender Council. "And they have less job security." 


The IFJ says more measures need to be introduced to end the gender pay gap, such as implementing a pay audit, increasing opportunities for flexible work, improving maternity and paternity rights, removing barriers to building seniority and promotion, and implementing gender-aware collective bargaining. 


Data in this report are important “both as a weapon against those who believe the fight for equality has been won, and for policy makers, governments and trade unions to plan further, concrete actions to tackle it," says Ran. 


The IFJ along with WageIndicator has launched a Decent Wage Campaign to raise journalists’ awareness of their rights to decent pay and working conditions.


To respond to the wage survey, please visit

WageIndicator is an independent non-profit foundation which aims for transparency of the labour market by sharing and comparing data through its network of national websites. 


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 134 countries worldwide 

Research from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) in the US finds no change in Hollywood’s portrayal of women since 1950. Males outnumber female movie characters 2 to 1. But when present, females are twice as likely to be involved in sexual scenes. And both males and females are increasingly involved in violence.

The research that analysed 855 top 30 box-office films from 1950 to 2006 shows that women have been consistently underrepresented as main characters for at least six decades. The ratio of male to female characters has been steady at about 2 to 1 over this time period.

In a further analysis, female characters were found to be twice as likely to be seen in explicit sexual scenes as males, while male characters were more likely to be seen as violent. Nevertheless, violence in films has increased over time for both male and female main characters. The study, authored by Amy Bleakley, Patrick E. Jamieson and Daniel Romer of the APPC, was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“We were surprised to see the same representation of women today as was prevalent in the 1950s,” said Dan Romer who co-authored the study. “With women increasingly playing major roles in all walks of life, Hollywood appears to remain in the mindset of a much earlier era.”

The final sample consisted of 20,073 5-minute segments from 855 top-grossing movies. Trained coders assessed each segment for the presence of sexual and violent content. Sexual content included kissing (on lips), nudity, sexual behaviour, or sexual intercourse, implicitly or explicitly shown, but the authors differentiate between kissing on the lips and more explicit content such as complete nudity or intercourse. Violent content was defined as intentional acts (e.g., to cause harm, to coerce, or for fun) where the aggressor makes or attempts to make some physical contact that has potential to inflict injury or harm.

“It’s disheartening to see that unbalanced portrayals of men and women persist in popular films,” noted Amy Bleakley, the lead author of the paper. “Movie-going youth – the largest consumers of movies per capita – who are repeatedly exposed to portrayals of women as sexual and men as violent may internalise these portrayals.”

“One concern about pushing for greater inclusion of women in today’s films is that women may be put into more violent roles, a trend we observed for both men and women,” added study co-author Patrick E. Jamieson. “Such characters would not represent the many roles that women are playing in the world today compared to 1950.”

Data from the study were collected as part of The Coding of Media and Health Project (CHAMP) at the APPC. The project evaluates media portrayal of risky health behaviours across time and advances the scholarly community’s understanding of its influence. It covers popular films, television, music and music videos, and includes sex, violence, tobacco, alcohol, drug use, and suicide. CHAMP has content analysed more than half a century’s worth of top 30-grossing movies since 1950, for a total of 855 films.

April 26, 2012



On World Press Freedom Day 2012, the International Federation of Journalists in collaboration with many partners in South Asia produced a report reviewing regional developments that have impacted freedom of the press and the quality of journalism. Like the nine previous reports this is part of the the South Asia Media Solidarity Network's continued effort at building foundations for united cross-border action by the area’s journalists.


Journalism in South Asia is facing many challenges with physical security being a major issue in most of the region. Several countries may have improved relatively due to decisions to reduce the risks involved in reporting highly sensitive stories. Though all countries in South Asia have formal guarantees of a free press in their written constitutions, formal and informal censorship persists. Further, the crisis of livelihoods within the profession is growing. Journalists in the region have responded to these challenges by in diverse ways.


Read the summary here and the complete report here (IFJ-Asia Pacific website; May 2, 2012)



Friday, 27 December 2013 14:21

Free speech in India 2013

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From three in 2011 and five in 2012, there have been 8 deaths of journalists in 2013. The rise in the number of instances of censorship this year and increasing surveillance, bode ill for free speech in India.

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