Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Group Criticise Media for Gender Imbalances

Published:Friday | July 15, 2016 | 7:00 AM

Issues of stereotype and gender imbalances in the media dominated discussions as journalists and other stakeholders met to analyse the 2015 Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) on Wednesday.

The media launch of GMMP, which was put on by the Women's Media Watch (WMW), in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), was held at the Alhambra Inn in St Andrew.

The study raised among several other concerns, the continued dominance of males in the media.

"The research revealed that only 17 per cent of the people who were interviewed or whom the news is about were women, while 83 per cent were men. It found that gender parity was a distant prospect in any region of the world. News was more often being presented by women, but it was rarely about women," the report said.

"The fourth GMMP in 2010 collected data from 108 countries. Men made up 76 per cent, while women made up 24 per cent of the people in the news. Women were outnumbered as news makers in every major news topic and underrepresented in professional categories," another excerpt from the report stated.

SHYING AWAY FROM ISSUES

Dionne Jackson-Miller, president of the Press Association of Jamaica, disagreed with some aspects of the findings, explaining that women generally tended to shy away from certain issues, particularly politics.

"I can tell you that a lot of people simply do not want to get involved in commentary on political issues. They do not want to come out and criticise the political leaders or the political parties, and we don't have the kind of society which can sustain paid commentators so that persons can speak freely without worrying about their livelihood," she said.

"We (media) don't really care if the commentators are male or female. We just want to find them. There are certain traits that we are looking for: people who are outspoken, people who are informed - not just blowing hot air - and people who are going to take a position and defend that position. There's nothing more infuriating than you having a person who is straddling the fence," she continued.

"I honestly don't think the media is biased. You are always going to have a situation where, until we increase the level of women not just as middle managers but at the very top, you are not going to see that level of representation in the media. We are not calling to talk to the vice-president or a middle manager, we are calling to talk to the CEO (chief executive officer)," she added.

Other presenters included Brian Schmidt, marketing manager at Irie FM, and Professor Hopeton Dunn, director at CARIMAC.