HOW MEDIA CAN HELP IN PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY?
- Indu Rawat
Media plays an important role in our society. It informs us about the happenings in the world and in our country and makes citizen aware about the social and political issues. Media is the fourth pillar of our democracy. It helps us to raise our voice and help to solve issues. Talking about gender equality in Media, the role of media can be seen in that too. Media and gender basically refer to the relationship between media and gender, and how gender is represented on media platforms. In today’s new media, both male and female journalists are making their place on news channels. Women now appear on more news channels or debates than ever before. Along with this, women now are given more chances as compared to the old or traditional media which was mainly dominated by men. Today even though the condition is better for women but still in many places, gender disparity still exists. Still women are given less chances than men to showcase their skills and talent.
Talking about media industry as a whole, it is also somewhere contributing to Gender Disparity in our society. In mostly television serials or movies, women are mainly shown as a housewife who is responsible for doing all the household chores whereas men are meant to go outside and earn for the family. Women are not allowed to go outside, they hyper sexualize women and portray them as a subordinate to men. In advertisements as well the same problem exists. Attention is given to those women only who are attractive in appearance. Even the pay is also less for women is some areas. Women face inequality not only outside but at their home too. They are denied education and forced to marry early. Something similar has been shown in our Hindi movies and serials in which women mostly do the household chores, take care of their children and men go out and earn money. Statistics of gender pay gap in India was estimated to be 24.81% for the year 2013. So, the question is how media can help in bringing gender equality in our society. From traditional media to new media, our media still influences people’s perceptions and ideas about females in our society. Unfortunately, till now we have only seen gender disparity in traditional media or old media.
Traditional media was generally male dominated. We all know that women are given less chances in every field as compared to men. In our Indian society women’s opinions are dismissed and they are denied to take part in decision making and denied to raise voice for themselves. Also, women are not aware about their rights and opportunities given to them by constitution. Without proper knowledge they are unable to get benefit from the scheme and pensions as well. So, the media can help women aware about their rights, so that they can get proper benefit from it. The media should make and promote gender transformative content which can bring change to our society. There is need to abandon the old orthodox views and give women the freedom to make their life decisions or choices at their own. Women are not behind with men in any way, so they should get equal chances to prove themselves. Equal opportunities are to be given to them at their home and place of education and work. They need to be encouraged to move forward. They should not be confined to their homes only. They too should be given freedom and security. Awareness should be spread about the schemes run by the government for women. Along with this, children at the school also be made aware about gender equality concept in their school curriculum. It should be ensured that women get equal opportunities at all workplaces. Especially in rural areas, there is a special need of awareness of women rights and opportunities and gender equality.
In the media sector as well although now situation has been improved but still gender disparity exists there too. According to some reports, women in the media industry are given mainly soft news to cover, whereas hard news is basically covered by males. This discrimination also has to end first. Media can promote gender equality only when they themselves are being fair and true and provide equal opportunities. The way in which women are portrayed in movies and serials promote conservative thinking which should be stopped. Not only females but their families too should support them and provide freedom to them. They should be involved in decision making. We all should put an end to all those stereotypes and should stop judging them as per the society’s standards. Violence and harassment against them need to be stopped. In media field, female journalists must be provided safety. They should create gender sensitive and gender-transformative content to break gender stereotypes.The government also ensure the safety of working women, should make more such schemes to encourage them and their families to make them study so that they are able to earn for themselves and their families. So that they can be independent. Awareness through mass media will help at large scale, will help to educate people and aware women about their rights and opportunities. It is the responsibility of institutions and media organizations to provide a safe and healthy working environment for them. With these ways, our country can at least change the statistics of unequal job opportunities due to gender disparity, and can help in achieving gender equality.
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