Women and media

The media can play a significant role in either perpetuating or challenging social norms and behaviours that condone violence against women. New media can be a platform for the objectification of women and girls, from everyday hyper-sexualised, one-dimensional images of women and girls to overt violence. 

Virtual spaces are sometimes used to perpetuate direct attacks on women and girls, ranging from cyber-stalking to the posting of inappropriate images of women. According to an expert report to the Commission on the Status of Women, women have increasingly reported incidents of footage of them engaged in sexual activity, including rapes being posted on Internet sites without their consent.

UN Women supports media monitoring studies of how women are depicted in the media. We engage media professionals by raising awareness of gender equality and violence against women, including through special workshops and toolkits, to encourage gender-sensitive reporting. We support women’s advocates to develop communications and media skills so that they can effectively engage with journalists and actively raise awareness of violence and even expose perpetrators.

Stories of survivors portrayed by journalists in Georgia

Georgia EVAW Exhibit

Through a workshop held by UN Women, 21 Georgian journalists received training on gender-sensitive reporting and how to cover violence against women in the media. According to a study of gender stereotypes in Georgian media, the majority of journalists lack awareness of gender issues and stereotypical attitudes dominate coverage of women’s issues. During the training, journalists produced survivors’ stories on domestic violence for an interactive exhibit and performance.

In Cambodia social causes find new partner in technology

Sunnary provides training Photo UN Women Veronika Stepkova

In Cambodia, UN Women is supporting the Open Institute, a local NGO, in its work to monitor violence against women using information and communications technologies. Apps, text messages and a Violence Reporting Website are allowing women to report cases of violence and warn each other of threats, as well as improve the accuracy of data collected on cases of violence against women. The project also uses technology to monitor and record how violence against women is portrayed in the Cambodian media.

What the Beijing Declaration says about Women and the media

Go back to UN Women's In Focus compilation on Ending Violence against Women 2014