Fojo stands strong in the belief that gender equality and social inclusion are given standards of professional journalism. News media content should not only be accurate, impartial and fair but also reflect the composition of the society and give balanced voice to both women, men, girls and boys and other groups.
In all our country programs, Fojo collaborate with local partners to promote gender sensitive and balanced journalism. Some examples:
- In 2020, Russia, Myanmar and Cambodia participated for the first time in the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP). Local teams in these countries, as well as in Zimbabwe and in Sweden joined a network of almost 150 civil society organisations cross the globe to monitor the gender balance in the media for one day.
- In Zimbabwe, Gender Media Connect (GMC) is a key actor that promotes gender equality in and through the media. Today Zimbabwe is one of few countries that has a gender sensitive media code of conduct and several media houses have developed gender policies thanks to the work of GMS. Also, voices of female experts in news content are likely to grow thanks to an expert directory set up by GMC.
- In Bangladesh, less than 10 per cent of journalists are female. Women journalists have been absent in the field of investigative journalism and they rarely covered “hard topics” such as corruption. This has partly changed as a result of work done by Media Resource Development Initiative (MRDI), in the form of mentorships for women journalists, systematic gender training and an investigative journalism helpdesk. As an additional result, more investigative stories with a gender perspective are now produced.
- In Myanmar, Myanmar Women’s Journalist Society (MWJS), has built its capacity to analyse and monitor news content from a gender perspective. The findings are used in dialogue meetings with local media houses to discuss how to improve the gender balance of the content.
Equally important is that news media organisations take responsibility and cater for the needs of all staff, women, men and other groups, by providing good working conditions and safe workplaces. Numerous research has shown that women media professionals are unproportionally targeted by hate and harassment, that is often sexualised in its nature.
A recent study by African Women in Media (AWiM) and Fojo, shows that sexual harassment and discriminatory norms are among the most serious barriers for women to stay in the profession in the Sub-Saharan region. To address this, Fojo and partners work in multiple ways, some examples:
- In Somalia, 47 media houses across the country have signed a declaration and action plan to promote gender equality in the workplace, which comes as a result of several years of advocacy work by the Somalia Women Journalists Organisation (SWJO). The Women in News programme (WIN) has trained hundreds of Somali female journalists in leadership and management skills, resulting in promotions and new job opportunities for many of them.
- In Eastern Europe a group of media trainers are taking part in a training programme to build skills that will help them to integrate gender equality and inclusion into trainings for media professionals (including in-house activities). Through this initiative a pool of gender sensitive trainers will be available to serve media houses in Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine.
- How can news media report on gender-based violence in a sensitive way? In Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, numerous articles and tools related to this topic were produced and shared in connection to the 16-days campaign against gender-based violence (2020).
- Many of the important moves towards more gender equal media have been inspired by research, such as the Global Media Monitoring Project and context specific studies (made by local partners with support from Fojo). Research is a key area of concern for Fojo, and we build alliances with other organisations and academic institutions to cover new ground. An upcoming study on gender equality in connection to media regulation is one example, that connects to Fojo’s engagement in the International Training Programme (ITP) that promotes self-regulation of news media.
- In Sweden, Fojo arranged the Global Media Monitoring (GMMP 2020) together with the Department for Journalism, Media and Communication at Gothenburg University. The GMMP is the largest and longest gender and media monitoring project in the world.
- Covering close to 50 countries in Easter Europe, Asia, MENA, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, the International Training Programme (ITP) supports initiatives that have the potential to strengthen media freedom and independence. Thanks to gender mainstreaming of the project, gender aspects have been brought into change processes related to media reform.
- A major research effort covering six countries in Eastern Europe was concluded in 2020. Thanks to this project, there is now comprehensive data on the status of gender equality in the news media business in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. A comparative analysis was published in 2020 (Belarus not part of this report).