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Media influences views on gender: NCW

Sat, Oct. 28, 2017
CAIRO – 28 October 2017: The National Council for Women (NCW) concluded on Saturday a three-day workshop on the role of media in combating violence against women. The workshop targeted both private and public TV and radio outlets’ representatives from all governorates.

The workshop was facilitated by media professor at Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Arts, Dina Farouk Abu Zeid, and witnessed vibrant discussions on the effect of implicit media messages on the status of women and discrimination against them. She explained that implicit media messages affect the collective awareness of the community as a result of its massive reach to people all over Egypt, which leads to creating a public belief that what is presented in media is the mainstream.

Also, the participants discussed how Egyptian and Arab media address women’s issues and how they raise the community awareness on women’s rights. They concluded that despite notable improvements on that level, more effort is needed to combat old inherited ideas about gender roles. They also discussed the effect of limited participation of women in decision-making positions in media.

Abu Zeid added that the image of women in media is influenced by customs, traditions, legacies and culture. Also, she pointed out that stereotypes about women exist across the world and that women face the same challenges in international media, especially in films and series.

The NCW is always keen to monitor and analyze how women are presented in Egyptian and Arab media, especially drama. During Ramadan, the council formed a committee to monitor TV shows and to study how they portray women and gender roles whether in a positive or negative way.

Media can play a preventative role to violence against women and change the society’s perceptions of gender roles by changing the stereotypes featured in drama and movies. People in the media have a pivotal role in initiating and fostering new opportunities to advance women empowerment and ending violence against women. Furthermore, media can play a leading role in reporting on violence against women, speak more and feature stories to promote ending violence against women while giving them a platform to voice their issues. Media should also emphasize the need to focus on men and boys taking responsibility for changing their behavior and attitudes.
 
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