Media Freedom Coalition statement on International Women’s Day 2024

On this International Women’s Day, with the theme Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress, the undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition call attention to the continued underrepresentation of, and lack of investment in and safety of women in media – as sources, experts, journalists, editors, photographers and every other role.

Gender pay gaps, women’s limited access to training and pathways to promotion, bias, online harassment and abuse, and disinformation and misinformation, combine to distort the public discourse because the voices, messages, images and issues do not reflect the diversity of our societies.

We recognise the powerful role that a diverse and pluralistic media environment can have in ensuring the right to freedom of expression for all. Media reporting informs, educates, and influences—shaping public perceptions and opinions, official narratives, and decision-making. Fair and inclusive coverage of conflicts, challenges, and lives demands an increase in women’s participation, voices, decision-making and leadership.  Respectful representations of women and girls, in all their diversity, can help dismantle gender-based discrimination and inspire action to achieve gender equality in the media.

All journalists should be able to cover different views and experiences – this would assist in ending the dominant depiction of women and girls as victims and instead represent the full, complex lives and roles that women and girls play at every level of society. Women journalists can participate in witnessing, recording and ensuring the different voices, bodies and stories of a variety of people are heard and seen.

We also call attention to the heightened safety risks to women journalists covering conflicts. Despite protections under international humanitarian law, journalists experience deliberate attacks. Sexism, power imbalances, and gender-based violence, including technology-facilitated violence, are exacerbated during times of conflict. Safety equipment is designed for the male body and media safety protocols often disregard the threats that women face.

Women journalists are subjected to explicit images and are threatened with rape, violence and death. Attempts to discredit, intimidate and silence women journalists endanger their lives and livelihoods.

On International Women’s Day, we call on the international community to invest in women across all media to ensure equal access by and participation of women in the media and ensure the safety of women journalists. Diverse women reporters, sources, and media decision-makers, as well as the multiplicity of issues covered, are needed to support the pursuit of equality, peace, and security.

Signed:

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belize
Botswana
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czechia
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guyana
Honduras
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Kosovo
Latvia
Lebanon
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Maldives
Montenegro
New Zealand
North Macedonia
Norway
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine
Uruguay
the Netherlands
the United Kingdom
the United States

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