Women in Media – Join the Conversation

Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust > Women in Media – Join the Conversation

Women are increasingly participating in work, education, the arts, politics and governance.  Still, gender inequality is widespread in India and across the world.  This discrimination is partly perpetuated by how women are represented in the media.  On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, VMFT together with the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Mar Ivanios College  is organizing a panel discussion with Nupur Basu, Bina Paul and Saritha Varma, all leading women in the media.  Award winning film director, Shaji N Karun will make the introductory remarks.

Join the conversation to help change the future of women for the better!  Send us questions and comments at vmft.tvpm@gmail.com.

India became the first country liberated from colonialism to give women the right to vote in 1947. Exercising political power is an important step forward in ensuring equality. To put this extraordinary achievement in perspective, women in Switzerland got the right to vote only in 1971.  Saudi Arabia gave women the right to vote and run for office only in 2015.

Yet, despite this headstart in the public sphere, women in India continue to suffer some of the worst discrimination and atrocities.  Only 21 percent of Indian women are in the workforce – compared to over 80 percent in Nepal.   The female workforce participation rate in India is one of the lowest in the world.

This can be also related to the high levels of violence against women. About 80 percent of women living in Indian cities have faced harassment in public spaces. Atrocities against women in rural and urban areas are extremely high.

Men in India are almost twice as likely as women to have access to the internet in India and Bangladesh.  By contrast, women in Indonesia and South Africa have the same access as men. This means that women cannot make use of digital technology and mobile banking to save for the future, invest in education or business opportunities.

The media is an important means for changing societal attitudes towards women. It is also important for changing the perceptions of women about themselves.  But there is much work to be done. A recent United Nations study found that worldwide, only 9 percent of news stories “evoke gender (in)equality issues”. A tiny 4 percent of stories “clearly challenge gender stereotypes”.  This includes stories in print, radio and television. (Click here)

In Kerala, the majority of journalism students are now women.  This trend is also observed in other countries. Despite this, only 27 percent of women hold top management jobs in media organizations; most of them will be in the industrialized countries.

The media should help to change this situation of extreme inequality.  Women leaders in media have battled many odds to tell the story about women and about society. Join the conversation !