GENDER EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE MEDIA: POLICY INTERVENTION IN EUROPE
University of Coimbra, Faculty of Letters (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Issues of gender and minority representation have been a major concern of feminist, transnational, and multicultural studies in the past decades. Scholars of this wide-ranging area explore into gender, class, race, ethnic, and sexuality issues regarding politics, economics, culture, media, and information and communication technologies (ICTs). The gender dimension of representation means that the images, the semantic universes, the argumentation that circulate in contemporary public spheres can both contribute to reproduce or overcome patriarchal systems and oppressive discursive structures (Byerly, Ross, 2012; Carter, Steiner & McLaughlin, 2014; Simões, 2016). Gender is thus a social constructed category and a situation that envelops us all and structure the world we live in. Other socially constructed categories with which gender intersects, like race and ethnicity, also reinforce cultural ideologies and values and structure contemporary life (hooks, 2009). Concerns with how patterns of prejudice and discrimination run along the lines of gender, race, class, and sexuality in mainstream media are central to representational research.
The Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) and Section ‘J’ on women and the media of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) was the first concerted international effort to highlight the nuclear role of the media and ICTs for gender equality. Two strategic goals are covered by the so-called Area J: increase women's participation and access to media and ICTs and foster the participation of women in decision-making positions. Ultimately, it intends to combat sexist representations in media and ICT content and led to the development of indicators against which organisations can be measured to determine the extent to which they are actively engaged in promoting a gender-equality and diversity agenda. More recently, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets Gender Equality as a Goal and points out to the role of media and ICTs in women’s empowerment. What kind of institutional efforts made at the European level focused the topic of women in the media and access and use of ICTs is what concern us here. Through the analysis of relevant policy documents from the last twenty years, we identify the themes and strategies that have been deemed important to promote gender equality and diversity in this context. We conclude by highlighting the relatively poor integration of specific media-focused policy intervention into equality policies and discuss how this relate with the progresses achieved in the gender and diversity domain.
Keywords: Gender equality, Diversity, Media, Policy intervention.