Gender

The gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are clearly visible in the media. According to a survey among journalists conducted by the International Federation of Journalists, more than half of the female respondents have experienced increased gender inequalities due to COVID-19, especially relating to their conciliation of work and private life, work responsibilities, and salaries.[1]

One the one hand, the pandemic has shown gender inequality in the media sector. For example, many independent media outlets are struggling financially, and as a result are more likely to fire women than men during economic hardship. Consequently, Consequently, there are less female voices and less female perspectives represented in the media.

On the other hand, the pandemic has shown gender inequality in media content. Even though the gendered impacts of this health crisis are clear, stories that focus on the perspectives of women and other minorities and vulnerable groups are scarce. Furthermore, voices of women experts are vastly underrepresented: ‘the media and policymakers overwhelmingly turn to men as figures of scientific authority’.[2]

The COVID-19 in Africa project has a clear gender focus. Resources for female journalists and their audiences are developed and shared, like news and updates, safety and security advice, research, and training in gender-sensitive reporting. Financial support is available for gender projects and for media content targeting female audiences. In order to reach this vulnerable group, this consortium will rely on radio broadcasting in local languages, with audience engagement ensuring equal participation and decision-making.

‘Media has the power to amplify the voices of women, portray their active roles in the Corona crisis, support their participation in public debate, challenge gender stereotypes and hold decision-makers accountable for women rights.’

– Emma Boberg Lygnerud, International Media Support[3]

Learn more

The coalition for Women in Journalism has created a resource page for journalists, including guidelines on how to safely report on COVID-19.

Footnotes

[1] International Federation of Journalists, COVID-19 Has Increased Gender Inequalities in the Media, IFJ Survey Finds
[2] Teresa Carr, In COVID-19 Coverage, Female Experts Are Missing (NiemanLab)
[3] International Media Support, Remember Gender in Your COVID-19 Coverage