Paris — Women Make the News, UNESCO’s global operation to promote gender equality in the media, will be launched for the eighth year on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8 March) 2008 with the aim of encouraging news media to give editorial responsibility to women editors and journalists on that Day.
Women’s Untold Stories has been chosen as the theme for Women Make the News 2008 to raise media managers’ awareness of female journalists’ and editors’ professional abilities so as to improve their career development opportunities in the newsroom and establish gender equality. As part of the operation, UNESCO invites women to produce news stories and features highlighting their multiple talents, achievements and contributions from their own perspective. It also invites media organizations taking part in the campaign to share their production and upload pertinent articles and news products onto a dedicated website:
Women’s Untold Stories was chosen as the theme for this year’s campaign due to the fact that in most countries, the way women are portrayed has not improved much despite an increase in the number of women working in the media as editors, journalists, correspondents, newsreaders and presenters. Three international media monitoring actions* on women in the media, coordinated by the World Association for Christian Communication in 1995, 2000 and 2005 respectively, revealed that perspectives on women are rarely nuanced: mainstream media tend to portray women as unrealistically glamorous or as victims of abuse, notably of sexual abuse. Female journalists are best placed to showcase the workaday challenges, and successes, of women and UNESCO is inviting the world’s media organizations to help them do this in their coverage on 8 March 2008.
Women Make the News 2008 is a challenging opportunity to promote gender equality in newsrooms by applying the principle of equal opportunity while maintaining the highest journalistic standards. By creating the Women Make the News operation, UNESCO’s Director General, Koichiro Matsuura, has chosen to emphasize the need to keep gender equality at every level in the workplace at the forefront of every society’s agenda.