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07.09.2014 - Communication & Information Sector

Gender Mainstreaming in Africa’s Media and Public Broadcasting

Opening ceremony of the SABA Summit, August 2014. © UNESCO/H.Dlamini

UNESCO and the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA) joined forces to promote the introduction of gender-sensitive workplace and editorial content policies among the media and broadcasting community in the SADC region.

In a project jointly organized by UNESCO and SABA, 14 broadcasting organizations and three media training institutions enhanced their skills and knowledge on steps required for the introduction of gender-sensitive media policies. Two events were conducted parallel to and under the wing of SABA’s Annual General Meeting and Digital Conference, which took place on 28 and 29 August in Ezulwini, Swaziland.

First, an executive briefing was delivered to fourteen SABA CEOs on UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media, the status of gender and media in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the UNESCO-led Global Alliance on Gender and Media. This coincided with the election of SABA’s first women Secretary General, Ellen Nanuses, and SABA President, Albertus Aochamub’s proposal to adopt a policy of equal numbers of women and men on its Board, subsequently approved by the Annual General Meeting.  All CEOs agreed to renew their commitment to gender in media and agreed to support the UNESCO led Global Alliance for Gender and Media where SABA has since taken up responsibilities as a member of the Steering Committee.

Second, a parallel two-day workshop for ten participants representing eight broadcasting organizations and three media training institutions was conducted by GenderLinks, a non-profit NGO based in South Africa.  The participants were briefed on the status of gender and media in the region, trained in gender sensitive workplace and editorial content policy development; implementation of UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media; briefed about the UNESCO led Global Alliance on Gender and Media, and regional initiatives including GenderLinks’ Centres of Excellence for Gender and the Media initiative, which is supported by UNESCO. Three media training institutions drew up an action plan for the integration of gender-sensitive modules in journalism education curricula. Eight broadcasters joined GenderLinks’ Centres of Excellence for the Gender and Media initiative, which provides guidance for policy development and implementation.

This project presented an opportunity for GenderLinks and SABA to strengthen relations and future cooperation and facilitated the launch of the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer during the course of the dynamic two-day event. UNESCO’s role in bridging the relations of the two organizations was crucial and has facilitated the emergence of positive synergies between the broadcasting community and civil society for a common purpose and in the interest of public service.


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