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UN: No progress for women in the media according to the GMMP report

Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelstetter - WACC (left), Dr. Glory Dharmaraj - United Methodist Women (centre), and Nanette Braun - UN Women (right). Photo: Solange DeSantis.

Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelstetter - WACC (left), Dr. Glory Dharmaraj - United Methodist Women (centre), and Nanette Braun - UN Women (right). Photo: Solange DeSantis.

The Global Media Monitoring Project has presented at the United Nations its findings for 2015 on the presence of women in the media and on gender representation in an industry that prides itself for its inclusiveness and its forward-thinking. The results, elaborated from data collected in 114 countries, show that the road ahead is still long 

The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) presented on November 23 at the United Nations, its newest findings in a survey researching the presence (or lack of) of women in all forms of media.

“Worldwide, women make up about 50% of the general population – the report states – but only 24% of persons heard, read about, or seen in newspapers, television, and radio news”. Sadly, this was exactly the same statistic found in the 2010 report by GMMP, meaning that the growth of women in the media has come to a near halt during the last five years.

The study conducted in 2015 was the largest yet for the organization. Since 1995 GMMP has conducted its survey every five years, with the most recent one extending into 114 countries and expanding its media sources to include Twitter. Each country involved in the survey had a locally-based team to research the specific conditions in their area with a rigorous methodology that makes the 2015 study the most thorough and wide-reaching but also showing the full extent of the unbalance in gender representation. At this rate, it would take about 75 years for the media industry to reach true gender parity.

GMMP surveys are conducted by WAAC, the World Association for Christian Communication, and their General-Secretary, Dr. Karin Achtelstetter addressed the journalists of the UN.

“We have to end media sexism by 2020,” Achtelstetter stated boldly. This is the new and ambitious objective of the organization after their research revealed that the stride for parity has come to a grinding halt. “I am getting concerned and impatient,” Achtelstetter continued. “[We have] concrete objectives and targets.” There are many goals that the group aims to fulfill by the year 2020, including getting newsrooms to support gender equality (100% on nationally public media) and increasing the overall global presence of women to 50%. Achtelstetter also stressed the need for “cultivating critical audiences to challenge sexism in the media.”

To shed some light on these recent findings, here are some of the numbers from the 2015 GMMP survey; the overall presence of women in print, radio, and television news from 1995 to 2015 has increased by 7%; global average of female reporters and presenters from 2000 to 2015 has increased by 6%; only 9% of stories overall written by women contain reference to legal, human rights, or political framework; and only 4% of stories overall challenge gender stereotypes (which is a slight 1% change since 2005). These are just a few of the facts presented in the report.

Achtelstetter admitted that her main objective of ending media sexism by2020 is an ambitious goal for the organization, but that they have found that not being ambitious doesn’t lead to much in terms of change and progress. The Global Media Monitoring Project is committed to reaching parity across the world for women in the media; all forms of news, newspapers, radio, reporting, writing and tweeting. Gender inequality shows itself in all professions and in all walks of life. It is a battle that has been raging on far too long. This report tells women of the world what they already know: that they have to fight harder. This is one of the many steps in the battle for gender equality on a global scale, but every bit of fight counts. We are slowly making progress in fixing this massive problem in the world. 

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