GAMAG gunilla

The President of IAWRT, Gunilla Ivarsson, participated in high level round-table discussions at the International Development Cooperation Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday December 7th  in the lead up to the first General Assembly of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG). ESP

As the President of IAWRT, a member of GAMAG’s International Steering committee, she was given the honor of making of one of the welcoming addresses to the historic General Assembly   Ms Ivarsson was on 2 panels, one was a dialogue on the successes and failures of actions aimed to equalise women’s access and participation in media and technology. She also presented the IAWRT’s Gender Mainstreaming report, and spoke about the way it is being used by members in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to promt understanding and action to reduce stereotypical representations of women, men, boys and girls in the media. (picture, left with Nadezhda Azhgikhina the Vice-President of the European Federation of Journalists)

The GAMAG General Assembly, ran from  9 until 10 December, ending on International Human Rights Day, releasing a call for gender equality in and through the media by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We call for inclusive societies that give equal voice to all,” said Colleen Lowe Morna, CEO of Gender Links and GAMAG Chairperson. “This cannot be achieved as long as half the world’s population is effectively silenced.” 

“We have come together to forge a global movement on gender and media,” said Alton Grizzle of UNESCO, which has facilitated GAMAG and organised the Geneva meeting with the Greek Secretariat General for Media and Communication. “Better access, leadership and portrayal of girls and women in media is a critical stepping stone for equal rights,” he added.   

GAMAG was launched in Bangkok two years ago, bringing together some 700 media houses, training institutions, journalism unions, gender and media activists to promote gender equality within the media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), and in the content they produce, as essential for achieving fundamental human rights for women worldwide.

Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent for CNN and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression, joined the International Development Cooperation Meeting on Gender and Media remotely to kick off the week’s events.  Said Amanpour: “On the very important platform that is media, women are simply not equally or even adequately represented, either in leadership roles or in media coverage.” Video message from Christine Amapour. (video includes Christiane Amanpour in conversation with Daniel Sieberg presented by News Lab at Google about her reporting career).

Over the past ten years, little has improved concerning the presence of women in media, according to Sarah Macharia who spoke on behalf of the World Association of Christian Communicators, an organisation that regularly monitors gender equality in global news media. The 2015 Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) found that women constitute 24% of news sources – the same as five years ago.  “Women remain invisible or underrepresented on traditional media based on almost every indicator we measure,” Macharia warned. “And this trend has replicated itself in digital media as well (see report).

“As the struggle for gender equality moves to online media, the challenges multiply,” added Cheryl Miller of the Digital Leadership Institute, reporting for the GAMAG working group on media, ICTs and gender.  “Under-representation of women in both media and digital sectors converges online, and the scope for urgent action grows,” said Miller. From promoting positive role models online to tackling cyberviolence, “the internet is a double-edged sword for women,” she said. “It needs to be wielded for their benefit.”

At GAMAG’s inaugural General Assembly, stakeholders committed to making 2016 a year of unprecedented action on key priority areas which include digital media, youth, advocacy and gender and media research.  In addition, four regional GAMAG chapters were launched in order to operationalise the “Geneva Framework” reached at the International Co-operating Partners meeting that preceded the General Assembly. 

Actions announced by GAMAG working groups included a set of gender equality principles and standards to be signed up to by media houses; gender sensitivity education for the media; a best practice community on gender and media, and an initiative to identify regional and local champions for gender in media like Amanpour.

Lowe-Morna underscored the urgency of GAMAG’s mission.  “Gender equality in and through the media is intrinsic to freedom of expression, democracy, good governance and transparency. We cannot hope to achieve the SDGs if this is sidelined.” GAMAG will be lobbying for gender and media indicators in the SDGs in the run-up to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting in New York in March 2016.   

The IAWRT Vice President Ananya Chakraborti will lead the planning for IAWRT’s upcoming side event at the CSW meeting, assisted by IAWRT board members, Violet Gonda, Bibiana Piene and Abeer Saady, more details soon!

(source: Guilla Ivarsson and GAMAG media statement)




Name: Iphigénie Marcoux-Fortier

Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada

What do you do?

I’m a documentary filmaker.

Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?

After exploring the many possibilities of multimedia during my studies in communication, I became interested in documentary filmmaking, working in just about every key position — director, producer, DOP, soundperson and editor. In 2003, I co-founded the production company Les glaneuses, co-directing several linear documentaries before dedicating myself to BRIB, a project that allows me to explore more innovative narrative forms alongside a diverse team of creators. No matter what topic I set my sights on, my approach is informed by issues of cultural identity, community involvement and collective memory. I was involved for several years, as filmmaker-trainer, in a project that encourages cultural validation through the appropriation of media by Mapuche and Atikamekw indigenous communities. The project is collaboratively run by organizations and groups in Québec and Wallmapu (Mapuche territory).

What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?

I like doing all that because I learn everyday about ways to live a better life – how to be a better person. I think by sharing that – it’s not just sharing a topic, but sharing a way of understanding life – it positively inspired other people whom, in their turn, in their own way of action, make the difference in constructing societies that better represent us. Every culture has its richness, and I belive in valuating that. 

What do you like and not like about working in this industry?

I’ve work hard to make my own way as an independant filmmaker, and I find it so enjoyable. I love the diversity of the projects and tasks, but also the incredible liberty that comes with it. I think the hardest thing is to learn how to create a good balance between this passion and life’s obligations.

What are your long-term goals?

I would like to keep creating/stimulating a large range of sisterhood/brotherhood between inspired and active human beings.

What special advice do you have for a student seeking to qualify for this position?

Don’t stop. Keep doing it. Keep being curious. Keep looking for truth. Keep spreading it. Keep finding ways to finance it.

Do you have any special words of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?

I think this work is a commitment that never ends. You can take it as a warning or as an encouragement!

These are my strongest assets/skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values are….

I think one of the strongest value/felling that motivates me is the sense of community. And I think in our modern society, it’s a real challenge because everything is designed for the atomisation of individuals. I feel it’s the only thing that will make us stronger, that will lead to real changes. So I try to keep doing it in all spheres of my life. Let’s connect to each other as much as we can. 

Links to your media projects