Media 4 Women

Target group

Media organisations, media outlets, civil society organisations and journalists around the world.


Media outlets, journalists, policy makers and the general public.

Other stakeholders

Women’s rights organisations, experts, donors.

Country Partners Budget Duration
Global Several partners January 2017 - ongoing
Theory of Change Themes Donor
Intermediate Outcome 1 Gender equality in media content, Gender equality in the workplace Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Worldwide, gender inequality is perpetuated by the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in the media. Women are far less visible on television, radio, online and in newspapers than men, with fewer of their stories told. As soon as journalists are looking for an expert opinion, women drop out of the picture.

The majority of the media are still portraying women in limiting, stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims. Women tend to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as their appearance, age, clothes and relationship status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed in relation to their professions, skills and opinions. This perpetuates unequal power dynamics and perceptions of gender.

Furthermore, despite some progress in gender equality over the recent decades, all over the world the participation of women in the media lacks behind alarmingly. Female journalists face harassment and discrimination while doing their job. Physical, sexual and online abuse is a daily reality for many female media professionals. Nearly two-thirds of female journalists have been threatened or harassed online and more than half have even been threatened in person. Furthermore, women rarely occupy decision-making positions in newsrooms: close to three-quarters of the managerial positions in the sector are occupied by men.

Overall objective

The goal of Media4Women is to put gender equality in and through the media on the local and international agenda and to create an international movement that succeeds in establishing a more inclusive and diverse portrayal of women in and through the media.

Intended outcomes

A worldwide campaign around International Women’s Day that raises awareness on the issues of gender inequality in media .

The goal in 2020 was to have a campaign that lasted longer than previous years (2 weeks around March 8), introduce Gender Equality Champions in the campaign, and engage with partners from at least 30 countries.

Position the M4W movement (Free Press Unlimited and her partner organisations) as a global network with expertise and platforms to establish a more inclusive and diverse portrayal of women in the media.


  • Producing branding and campaign material, including an online toolkit.
  • Engaging and coordinating with media organisations around the world to organize activities in different countries.
  • Organising online campaigns and offline events around the world by local organisations.
  • Writing and publishing (video)stories about Gender Equality Champions.
  • Adovcacy through joint statements on gender equality in and through the media with other organisations.

Achieved outputs

  • Media4Women grew from a campaign in 3 countries in 2017 to 35 countries in 2020 (with the participation of 50 organisations and individuals).
  • In 2020, the Media4Women campaign reached almost 4 million people world-wide, including media outlets, policy makers and politicians.
  • Approximately 1500 people participated in the offline activities about gender equality in and through the media that included street interviews, competitions, debates, marches, movie screenings, and research presentations.
  • The stories of seven Gender Equality Champions were shared on the Free Press Unlimited website. The Champions are women and men around the world who have done exceptional work in fostering an inclusive and equal portrayal of women in and through the media.

Achieved outcomes

  • In 10 countries, the M4W campaign was attended by local press club members and was covered by over 80 national and local news outlets, including national and local television and radio channels, and multiple daily newspapers and online news outlets.
  • In several countries, policymakers, government representatives and decision makers in media attented the events or joined the campaign.

Role of FPU

Free Press Unlimited formed a task force that initiatied and coordinated the campaign, by providing information, a social media toolkit and a budget to organize activities where needed. On the social media of Free Press Unlimited, the activities and campaigns of participants around the world were highlighted.

Lessons learned / Challenges

  • Having a dedicated task force that has time and resources to implement this campaign is crucial.
  • The social media toolkit and the gender equality champions were useful tools to help organisations around the world to shape their campaign and have a uniform campaign look.
  • Having an overarching branding and message of the campaign ensured that all activities that were organised and all content that was produced had the same unified look and feel; this was important in order to show the size of the movement.

More information

Website page about Media4Women

The stories of the Gender Equality Champions