GIS - August 09, 2012: Representatives of Women’s Associations, the National Women’s Council and the Gender Unit of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare gathered this morning at the Cybertower in Ebène for a panel discussion on women and the media on the theme: Portrayal of women in the media, creating awareness for Gender Equality.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in collaboration with the National Women’s Council. It aimed at sensitising participants on the representation and portrayal of women in the media, on the importance of media in furthering gender equality and on women’s participation in the media as journalists, opinion makers and critical readers.
According to a study undertaken in 2009 by Gender Links, a southern African NGO promoting gender equality, voices of women in media stood only at 19%, with the percentage of women present on TV at 28%, on radio at 22% and in print media at 18%. As regards gender in the newsroom, women are under-represented, constituting 33% of reporters/journalists in Mauritius.
In her opening address, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Ms Mireille Martin, expressed concern over the portrayal of women and girls as objects in media and social network, propagating and perpetuating gender inequalities and stereotypes in the Mauritian society. She called on the media to use their unique position and power to wield their influences to support efforts to promote gender equality as well as respect and integrity towards women.
Minister Martin urged women to critically analyse media messages and become more aware of their content and intentions in order to identify media practices that are harmful to women and create barriers to gender equality. She asked participants to intervene whenever women are negatively depicted or portrayed as objects mainly in advertising campaigns, merchandising of products, and in media. The Minister also recalled measures taken by the Ministry in promoting realistic, progressive and affirming images of women as well as contributing to women realising their full potential in all spheres of life, political, economic and social.