Progress towards equality of women and men in the news media has virtually ground to a halt according to the findings of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) released on November 23.
The world’s largest research initiative into gender portrayal in news media shows that worldwide, women make up only 24 per cent of the people heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly the same level found in 2010. Women’s relative invisibility in traditional news media has crossed over into digital news delivery platforms with only 26 per cent women’s presence in news stories. There is a global glass ceiling for female news reporters with 37 per cent of stories reported by women, the same as a decade ago.
Coordinated by Uks Research Centre, the GMMP 2015 Pakistan National Report reveals that unlike global trends, the presence of women in news to have upped from 27 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent in 2015. The number of female reporters across media has also increased from 11 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent. The major topics (classified by GMMP 2015) that made news on that day were Crime and Violence (30 per cent), Politics and Government (26 per cent) and Social and Legal Issues (23 per cent) respectively. Despite significant increase in figures, the qualitative analyses of the news stories suggest that portrayal of women as ‘victims’, trivialization and sexual objectification persist in the Pakistani media. With only 4 per cent of the news stories challenging gender equality issues, and none of the stories on Girl-child and women’s economic participation, the media continues to ignore the realities of being a Pakistani woman. The reporting trends on internet and twitter from the gender perspective however tell a similar story!
The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) is the world’s longest-running and most extensive research on gender in the news media coordinated by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). It gives a detailed picture of the numbers of women and men in the world’s news on a particular day. With members in over a 100 countries, the network includes gender and communication groups, women’s media associations, women’s grassroots groups and researchers in academia who participated in the previous GMMPs of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. This time the members across the world monitored media content on March 25, 2015.
Uks with almost two decades of experience in monitoring media in Pakistan, was selected to coordinate GMMP 2015 the second time. As Farzana Ali, a journalist from Peshawar, shares, “I remember it was Uks who first guided me on the fair and balanced portrayal of women. Especially in Pakhtun Society, it was very difficult to convince male colleagues in newsrooms on presenting gender-just news stories …With the help of Uks’s guidelines… and Gender-sensitive Code of Ethics for Media. For me, Uks is the best choice in Pakistan, for the continuation of research and advocacy initiatives on gender equality in media, like the GMMP!”