UN Women Ethiopia, through the project “Enhancing the Role of Media in Promoting Gender Equality and Women in Leadership” under its Women in Leadership and Governance programme (WiLG) has been working with the Ethiopian Media Authority and Media Associations and partners to create a gender aware media workforce and gender sensitive media in Ethiopia.
According to Dr. Elsabet Samuel, a former journalist and Gender and Media researcher, although Media has a tremendous potential to influence society, including policymakers, it often focuses on reinforcement of stereotypes and objectification of women through media content.
To address this, “Media has to explore the impact of embedding representation in its daily editorial and production thinking and processes” Dr. Elsabet says. She also noted that experiences from BBC’s 50:50 project, for instance proves that fair representation is not only a goal to aspire to but one that can be achieved consistently.
Ms. Dureti Tadesse, Director of Women, Children and Social Affairs at the Ethiopian Media Authority, a government entity tasked with regulating the media and advertising sector, said that UN Women’s support has been instrumental in improving portrayal of women in the media and advertisements. Series of capacity building trainings for media personnel and advertisement experts/producers as well as media monitoring experts, development of Gender Sensitive Media and Advertisement guidelines and inclusion of gender as a standalone monitoring topic are results from the project implemented with UN Women. “Despite improvements, there is a long way to go for gender balanced media content.”
“Despite improvements, there is a long way to go for gender balanced media content. One reason for this may be high staff turnover within the media industry. Previously trained and capacitated personnel leaving the media institutions. Covid-19 also has created a gap because trainings were halted.” Ms. Dureti noted.
Ms. Dureti also emphasized on continued collaboration on this saying, “Nowadays, there are programs in the media that goes against the media law and reinforces stereotype against women that insinuate women have lower status in the society. We hope to work more on this with support from UN Women.”
Ms. Yemwodish Bekele, Director, Women Can Do It, a civil society organization partnered with UN Women’s Women Leadership Programme said “UN Women’s support is instrumental in achieving our organization’s goal of showing that if the media becomes an ally to the fight against negative gender stereotypes in the society and promote positive portrayal of women, then women can do it and hold their legitimate place in positions of power where they can take part in making decisions that affect their lives.”
“Support provided by UN Women also ensured continuous programming and coverage of gender issues and women’s participation in political and public leadership.” Ms. Yemwodish Bekele, Director, Women Can Do It.
Ms. Yemwodish also added that the support provided by UN Women also ensured continuous programming and coverage of gender issues and women’s participation in political and public leadership. The mainstream media needs to work on better coverage of gender issues.
UN Women Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Media Authority has implemented “Enhancing the Role of Media in Promoting Gender Equality and Women in Leadership” Project from August 2017 till January 2021. During the project implementation, 464 editors, journalists, advertisement professionals, Ethiopia Media Authority staff were reached through capacity building based on tailored training modules. This project was made possible by generous support from the governments of Denmark and Sweden.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.