"Media and the Image of Women"
Conference of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commission
organised in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands
Every day, and the world over, we are constantly exposed to images and information from a wide array of sources. Such content plays a crucial role in shaping our opinions, values and ideas of what is desired and acceptable behaviour for women and men. Unfortunately, the visibility given to women in mass media, whether in text, audio, or audio-visual form is more often than not based on stereotypical portrayals of what is feminine and masculine. Through the acceptance and imitation of these so-called “role models”, harmful gender stereotypes are perpetuated affecting every aspect of our lives.
of the Conference
Raise awareness of the media and the general public on gender equality issues in the media;
Discuss the challenges posed by reconciling the media’s freedom of expression and upholding the principle of gender equality;
Encourage a gender sensitive approach in the media environment and industry;
Promote leadership of women in the media;
Discuss the challenges posed by new media, its impact on gender equality and how it can be used as a potential agent for positive change;
Discuss and exchange good practices on effective strategies for combating gender stereotypes;
Present to the participants the Council of Europe Handbook “Women and Journalists” and its toolkit on how to combat gender stereotypes in the media.
The Council of Europe and Gender Equality
The Council of Europe’s pioneering work towards achieving gender equality has provided a solid legal background for the use of a holistic approach: standards that constitute the framework under which all actions to achieve gender equality must be pursued; standards for achieving balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making; for the protection of women against violence; for the development of tools and strategies to achieve effective gender equality, such as gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting.
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of The Netherlands
The Dutch government wants to combat stereotypical thinking about gender roles and male-female differences. For the Netherlands, this issue lies within the portfolio of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. One of the issues addressed in a recent policy paper on emancipation policy for 2013-2016 is the issue of representation of women in the media. This is a theme that has not been part of Dutch emancipation policy before. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science regards this Conference as a start of an exploration of this policy area. Minister Bussemaker, who is responsible for Gender Equality Policy in The Netherlands, has indicated that she will consider the extent to which the recommendations of this Conference are practicable on a national level.