UNESCO to Conduct Comprehensive Assessment of Women’s Representation in Media

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will conduct a comprehensive assessment of women’s representation in Cambodia’s news media to fill the existing gap in data and research related to the matter.

According to its press release issued yesterday, UNESCO has initiated a research project that will analyse and better understand the way journalists report on women, and how women are represented and portrayed in the news that Cambodians read, watch and listen to.

The report and findings resulting of this research will be the first of its kind in the country, which will offer much needed benchmarks on how women are portrayed in media in the country, and provide evidence-based recommendations to media houses, journalists, the authorities as well as to development partners to effectively support the voices of women through the media, as means to advance gender equality and enable the participation of women in public debates.

When it comes to the media discourse, women in the media are misrepresented based on traditional gender-roles and stereotypes. According to a recent report by the Cambodian Media Centre for Independent Media, “the biggest challenges in producing gender-aware stories lie in avoiding bias and stereotypes of women and in identifying strong story ideas and angles (…) emphasising the difficulty for media reporters in ‘using gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive language in news stories.’ Addressing these issues is an imperative to improve women’s representation in the news media.

To conduct this study, UNESCO has engaged Angkor Research to monitor news published and broadcasted by national media outlets, including print, online, radio and television. The research will apply UNESCO’s Gender-sensitive Indicators for Media, which is a tool developed to facilitate gender equality and women empowerment in and through the media. The indicators look at different aspects of women’s presence in the media, including their portrayal in stories about gender-based violence, their inclusion as expert voices or the patriarchal stereotypes that the media tends to perpetuate.

Recognising media as a powerful agent of change through its holistic media development interventions, UNESCO and Sweden are committed towards gender equality and women’s empowerment by unleashing the transformative potential of media. In Cambodia and through its current project ‘Strengthening Media Development and Freedom of Expression in Cambodia’ with financial support of the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), UNESCO strives to work toward addressing misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women in the media sector. UNESCO is promoting that media provides equal opportunities for all, and avoids narrow or harmful stereotypes for gender representation, contributing to advancing gender equality in and through all forms of media.

The monitoring activity, which will take about six months, will produce an evidence-based baseline about the situation of women’s representation in news media and a set of evidence-based recommendations to improve the representation and the visibility of women in media which will be supported further in collaboration with national stakeholders.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press