GAPMIL’s statement on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015

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The Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) celebrates International Women’s Day as an opportunity to recognize the role of MIL in enhancing gender equality and promoting the rights of women.

GAPMIL is committed to supporting women, children and youth in their efforts to engage in meaningful participation in our world which is driven by information, media and technology which are male dominated.

GAPMIL shares in UNESCO’s acknowledgement of this day as an opportunity to reflect on progress that has been made, challenges that still remain, and to celebrate the “extraordinary work of ordinary women” in their countries and communities.

International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on the need to increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new media technologies.

Advances in media and information technology in the last decade have facilitated a global communications network and process that have both positive and negative impacts on women and young girls. Everywhere, the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women, yet many roadblocks exist for women and young girls.

Today, more women are involved in careers in the media, information and communications sector, but few have attained positions at the decision-making level. Gender sensitivity in the media remains a major challenge.

MIL is concerned with supporting women and girls to become active citizens as they navigate the plethora of information and media messages that they encounter, and as they explore the potential positive and negative aspects of information and media content.

When we consider the continued projection of negative and degrading images of women in media communications – electronic, print, visual and audio – and communication available today, we also recognize the important role MIL plays in education and in critical thinking about the representations of women in the media.

 

Media and information literacy competencies and access to media and information technology are all important to ensure women’s and girl’s full-fledged development and participation in inclusive and just societies where equality is the norm rather than the exception.

 

GAPMIL encourages youth media initiatives to focus on girls. Considering the power of media to shape the public’s cultural perceptions with stories and images, media and communication initiatives that focus on girls can be used to help girls develop skills that empower them. Such gender-focused youth media organizations can highlight girls’ developmental skills with gender specific programmess which can help girls construct images and stories that reveal their unique voices.

Around the world, little attention is paid to the coverage of women in the media. MIL can fill the gap to enhance women’s presence and participation in the media. GAPMIL realizes the crucial role in supporting women media professionals, in creating alternative media spaces for the expression of women’s perspectives on the world, and in critiquing offensive or stereotypical media content.

GAPMIL believes that women should be empowered by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information technology. This will strengthen their ability to combat negative portrayals of women.

We support women’s education, training and employment to promote and ensure women’s equal access to all areas and levels of the media; research into all aspects of women and the media and encourage the development of educational and training programmes, including media and information literacy projects for girls.

We urge all MIL supporters around the world to use the occasion of International Women’s Day to help young women and girls acquire MIL competencies, and to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women working in MIL-related fields.  At the level of GAPMIL, we shall continue to pursue programmes and initiatives that put the Media and Information Literacy competencies at the forefront of global discourse.

Note:

GAPMIL was launched in June 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria, by UNESCO, UNAOC, and other partners, during the Global Forum for Partnerships on MIL, incorporating the International Conference on MIL and Intercultural Dialogue.

It aims to promote media and information literacy (MIL) as a means to open and inclusive development.  For more information on GAPMIL, please visit: http://www.unesco.org/new/…/gapmil_framework_and_action_plan

 

Signed

GAPMIL, International Steering Committee

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