Media must play role in pushing for gender equality, Migiro says

Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro

24 May 2010 – Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today appealed to the media to take on the cause of gender equality, spotlighting it potential to overturn stereotypes of men and women.

“More is needed to make the media environment and industry more inclusive and gender-sensitive,” she stressed in remarks in Baku, Azerbaijan, to a conference of ministers from the Council of Europe responsible for equality between men and women.

Every day around the world, mass media sways how people view what it means to be masculine and feminine, “sadly, often resorting to destructive gender stereotypes in the process,” Ms. Migiro said.

“Such stereotyping, in turn, feeds into the gender discrimination which is a root cause of violence against women and girls,” she added.

The Deputy Secretary-General called on mass media to put an end to its one-dimensional gender portrayal and its negative depictions of women’s role in society.

She also emphasized that laws, leadership and action by the United Nations is not enough to promote gender equality.

Other essential ingredients, Ms. Migiro said, include stepped-up monitoring, reporting and accountability; resources to jump-start national development and poverty-reduction schemes; and the systematic incorporation of the needs and concerns of women and girls into all policy areas.

While in Azerbaijan, she also met with the country’s First Lady and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Mehriban Aliyeva, as well as with Hijran Huseynova of Azerbaijan’s Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs, and representatives of UN agencies based in Baku.

The Deputy Secretary-General was also scheduled to hold talks with President Ilham Aliyev this afternoon.

Earlier this month, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka enlisted advertisers to join efforts to eliminate violence against women, calling on the industry to help defy destructive gender stereotypes.

With up to 70 per cent of women experiencing violence in their lifetime, “this is not an abstract issue,” Mr. Akasaka stressed at a gathering of advertising titans in Moscow. “For women and girls, this is a struggle not to be assaulted, raped, molested or forced into the commercial sex trade.”

He pointed to studies which have shown that negative stereotyping, including the depiction of women as sex objects, exacerbates gender discrimination. Women have often been portrayed in demeaning or damaging ways on billboards, magazines, television and magazines, he noted.


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