The media is one of the most important yet challenging areas of work for advancing gender equality. As “formal” or legislated discrimination against women falls away, the key challenge confronting us is how to change mind‐sets hardened by centuries of socialization and cemented by custom, culture and religion.
Potentially having a huge role to play in this “liberation of the mind”, the media has more often than not been part of the problem rather than of the solution. And, while the media has set itself up as the watchdog of the rest of society, it does not always take kindly to being “watched”. The result has been an unfortunate antagonistic relationship between gender activists and the mainstream media.
The 2010 Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS) found that women constitute 19 percent of news sources in the SADC region. This is a powerful indicator of exclusion – women’s effective lack of voice. With its roots in gender and communication work, GL adopted the slogan, “making every voice count, and counting that it does” early in its work.