Gender, media summit draws interest
Convened by Gender Links (GL), the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network, the two day event will be held under the banner “Media diversity and sustainability: Good for Business, Good for Democracy.”
The summit is a follow up to the September 2004 gathering that brought together 184 media managers, practitioners, NGOs and activists to debate research findings that show that women comprise about one fifth of news sources; less than five percent of media owners and managers and that they are represented in a narrow range of roles in the media, most often as victims or as sex objects.
The summit led to the launch of GEMSA that now has 381 members in twelve countries and will be holding its first general meeting on the eve of the summit.
A highlight of the summit is the Gender and Media (GEM) Awards taking place at a gala dinner on 8 September. Some 187 journalists from 12 countries (108 women and 79 men) submitted entries for the eleven prizes. Stories submitted range from how a beauty queen found out she was HIV positive, to being a black lesbian, to male rape, to virginity testing.
With a strong emphasis not just on editorial content but also on media markets and audiences, the summit will get going on 7 September with a key note address by Ammu Joseph, a well know Indian author and founder of the Network of Media Women in India, speaking about gender, globalisation and the media.
Speakers from across the region and East Africa will present case studies in six parallel sessions each day on topics such as media markets and audiences; media ownership and management; enabling environments; newsroom policies; gender and images; IT for advocacy; media literacy; gender and images as well as media practice.
New research that will feature in the discussions includes the HIV AIDS and Gender Baseline Study; Gender and Media Audience Study; the Global Media Monitoring Project; the South Africa National Editors Forum Glass Ceiling Study; Business Unusual (a training manual on gender and economic reporting) and Who Talks on Talk Shows – a study of radio talk shows.