Gender and the Media

Women represent half the population, yet are dramatically underrepresented in the media.  This global phenomenon has been outlined by the third Global Media Monitoring Project conducted in 2005.  In support of this project MMA (then the Media Monitoring Project) acted as the part of planning committee and the data analyst of the 2005 Global Media Monitoring Project.  Regionally, MMA custom built the methodology of the 2000 Gender Media Baseline Study, looking at media representation in Southern Africa.  Locally, we have done several monitoring projects on gender representation in South African media, which has made gradual improvements.  However, the level of women speaking in the media is still way below 50%.  When women do speak, their roles are often limited to victims, family of somebody or when they are celebrities.  Professional people, when quoted, on the other hand are almost all men.

Formally recognised as a tool for change by the United Nations in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action (Section J), media monitoring is an advocacy tool to change the representation of women in the media. Much of MMA’s work revolves around gender monitoring for this reason.  Please browse through our many gender reports.

MMA does gender-specific work, but also integrates gender into all the research we do.  We were one of the first organisations to mainstream gender issues in South Africa, having seen the need for gender sensitive research as early as 1994.