A renowned Pacific gender equality champion and Technical Advisor of Shifting the Power Coalition, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, believes that gender equality is about men and women working together and this can be achieved by diversifying media content to break gender stereotypes.
She highlighted this while speaking on Women and the Media, which is one of the 12 priority areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) on Gender Equality. The BPA is a resolution adopted by the United Nations at the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995. The resolution adopted to promulgate a set of principles concerning the equality of men and women.
Bhagwan Rolls said the recent global media monitoring project is a useful tool to gauge ways in which women are included or not included in media content.
“It’s really important to note that gender issues are not only about women, or simply adding women to the mix. To get better at promoting gender equality through the media, we need to start looking at diversification of content; how we make the linkages with gender equality commitments to all areas of society, and promoting women’s leadership in all her diversity,” she stated.
Bhagwan Rolls said government ministers need to help break the gender stereotypes by reviewing ways their government initiative stories are produced.
“There needs to be greater cohesive action and collaboration to produce stories that aren’t just promoting what the government is doing, but actually having conversations with women from different sectors. Even if it is simply promoting women working within government ministries, profile these women, show the public how these women are contributing to moving the agenda forward,” she explained.
Prior to the BPA, in 1994, at the 6th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 1st Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women, and in preparation for the Fourth World Conference for Women, held in Beijing, China in 1995, delegates from 22 Pacific Island countries and territories met in Noumea and endorsed a set of principles and a plan of action to advance gender equality in the region – The Pacific Platform for Action on the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (PPA).
The PPA was a landmark achievement for the region, and a remarkable one as it emerged prior to the globally negotiated and endorsed BPA, and its 13 critical issues mirrored most of the critical areas of the BPA.
For Pacific Island Countries and Territories, BPA implementation from 1995 was twinned with actioning the PPA. The PPA has been central to accelerating implementation of the BPA in the region.
The 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women (27-29 April), will see the launch of the Pacific Beijing +25 Report, which takes stock of progress, recommendations, and what must be done to achieve full and equal participation and inclusion of all women and girls of all diversities.