While the push towards greater gender equality is becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, much is yet to be done to reach the perfect balance; more so in the media. The report by Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2015 finds that the progress towards gender equality in the media has “almost ground to a halt over the past five years.”
In the report, women only count for 24% of those that people heard, read about or seen in the media – the same statistics five years earlier in 2010.
The conversation about diversity in the media is “one that is only in its beginnings,” as Jane Worthington, the Director for Program and Development of IFJ Asia puts it.
“In Australia, those (GMMP) statistics didn’t change for five years, there’s still a lot to do when we talk about diversity,” she said.
“…the average media practitioner in Australia is a “white male hipster in his 20’s”
Commenting that the average media practitioner in Australia is a “white male hipster in his 20’s”, Jane says that at least one in five people speak different languages at home and the number does not reflect the country as a whole.
Echoing the same sentiment, Milica Pesic, the Executive Director of Media Diversity Institute says diversity in media pays. Noting the prominent role of media owners as decision makers, she sees a diverse media content as something that will attract a diverse set of audiences.
Recognising the positive change that women can bring about, Gwen Lister of Namibia Media Trust believes that women are more empathetic than men and thus can make a difference in society.
“…diverse media content as something that will attract a diverse set of audiences.”
“Women are more compassionate and more understanding than men,” she said.
Gwen further states that women should put the issues of human rights to the forefront.
“Women as caregivers should take those issues to heart especially human rights based issues in whatever societies they work and try to keep that in the full front of their coverage.”