International frameworks and bodies can provide mechanisms to address gender inequality in and through media. They can ensure that states devote attention and resources to issues identified. It is important to understand international frameworks and bodies in order to use them in your advocacy efforts.
This page provides more information about the following mechanisms:
- Key international frameworks
- International bodies
Learn moreThe AGEMI project has a full learning unit about gender-sensitive media policies, covering the the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of gender-sensitive and gender-responsive media and ICT policies.
Key international frameworks
Beijing Platform for Action
The Beijing Platform for Action of 1995 is the key international framework that recognises the importance of media in achieving gender equality. The declaration flagged ‘Women and the Media’ as one of 12 key areas where urgent action is needed to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys. It also laid out concrete ways for countries to bring about change.
Women and the Media – Section J of this framework – consists of two strategic objectives:
- Strategic objective J.1. Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication.
- Strategic objective J.2. Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.
The progress on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action is reviewed every five years. 2020 constitutes the 25th anniversary of the declaration.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. It does not cover the role of media and communication with regards to gender equality but is a key document in promoting gender equality.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015 and provide the main international framework for sustainable development. Goal 5 of the SDGs is to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. One of the targets is to ‘ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life’. However, within this framework there is no specific target relating to the role of media in gender equality.
UN Commission on the Status of Women
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is an inter-governmental body that was established in 1946 with a mandate to foster gender equality and the empowerment of women. Every year in March, the CSW convenes at the United Nations in New York and reviews the progress made on specific areas of the Beijing Platform of Action. In 2013 and 2018, Section J (Women and the Media) was reviewed during CSW.
UN Women is the main United Nations entity for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. UN Women develops global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. They initiated the Step It Up for Gender Equality Media Compact, an alliance of media organisations which are committed to playing an active role in advancing gender issues.
Policy agendaSetting the Gender Agenda for Communication Policy is a publication by the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG). It highlights the importance of media in achieving gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.