UNESCO launches Women Make the News 2011

Launched annually on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8 March), Women Make the News (WMN) is a global initiative aimed at promoting gender equality in the media. This year’s theme, Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and Gender, seeks to highlight good practices in this area and emphasize the importance of fostering media and information literate societies as a way to improve the understanding of women and men about gender perspectives in media and information systems.

UNESCO believes that this year’s theme is equally important to national and international media organizations, and to civil society organizations concerned with gender issues. Together with its partners, UNESCO invites such organizations, as well as professional associations, journalists’ unions, women and men working in the media to share their thoughts o­n how MIL can help women and men understand gender equality and to challenge the media to address this issue.

Are you promoting MIL in your media organization? How are you doing this? Do you think MIL can help to address gender equality? What programmes have you implemented in your countries and communities? What were your challenges? How did you involve the media, women and men? What are the creative ways in which you have used MIL to mainstream gender issues? Through these and other questions, share your experience, good practices and recommendations in considering gender equality, and media and information literacy.

You can submit your contribution to UNESCO by 30 March 2011 via the Women Make the News website using Join the campaign box (top right). It will contribute to inform UNESCO’s decision to support MIL initiatives and will be featured o­n the website.

Editors-in-chief of print and broadcast media are also invited to join this UNESCO initiative by producing special programmes o­n the topic, and by entrusting women journalists and reporters with editorial responsibility for the newsroom during the WMN campaign.

Participants in the campaign will receive pins bearing the Women Make the News logo. They can further promote the initiative by downloading its banners and logo from the Women Make the News website.

For many years stakeholders globally have focused o­n the media development to address issues surrounding gender equality and women’s empowerment. MIL is necessary for users of media and information systems and can promote gender responsive media behaviour. Through MIL, audiences (readers, viewers and listeners) are equipped with the necessary competencies to assess the gender sensitive performances of media and information systems, and to participate in them.

In 2009 UNESCO partnered with the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association to produce the Guidelines for Broadcasters o­n Promoting User-generated Content and Media and Information Literacy, which offer simple and practical suggestions to media organizations and their audiences.

UNESCO intends to promote the inclusion of MIL in formal and non-formal education systems through its Model Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teacher Education, which will be released soon.

Source: UNESCO