European Broadcastig

Gender Stereotypes






Main Objectives

The “Women in Media in Europe” project aims to contribute towards achieving equal opportunities for men and women in Europe, and to promote a societal vision of roles destined for changes in sex roles or gender stereotypes in general. The principal aims are to:

- Investigate underlying gender stereotypes in the media, especially national television news, culture, information, current events and drama produced by national television networks

- Collect and compare legislation, processes and methods used in different European countries to overcome stereotypes: commissions, procedures and internal/external sanctions both foreseen and effective; complaint management systems (access, monitoring and feedback); governing and monitoring bodies; ratings systems; Charters and Codes of Conduct; legislation and directives; etc. This will produce a list of governing bodies, Commissions, with addresses, emails and websites, to help those who wish to complain or to make comments in any way

- Analyse best practices favouring elimination of gender stereotypes in media: human resource selection; training and awareness raising in internal commissions, quality boards, women’s leadership. Again a complete address index will be prepared.

- Prepare a “White Paper” that clarifies the status quo in the actual European legislation on the issue in order to promote discussion in Member States, and, at the same time provide guidelines for national networks, quality commissions, equal opportunity boards and women leaders. This should become a Vademecum to enable better communication between consumers and governing bodies, a “direct line” between regulators and regulated, to improve clarity, transparency and debate.

The above objectives should help the increasing awareness of existing legislation and best practices in the various European countries, and should allow all involved to render the question public, in order to open to open public and institutional debate in the different countries, non merely to undertake theoretical analyses and complaints, but to provide opportunities for the rethinking of the current legislation in order to uphold a realistic and essential equal opportunity culture.

This project will be undertake by means of a close and ongoing collaboration among all partners involved, with the additional presence of part of the international network of the International Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica (International Adkins Chiti: Women in Music Foundation) in a series of countries which have geographical proximity to Italy (Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Austria and Spain) and the main institutions involved, first of all the “Communication Authorities”, then other governing bodies including Communication Ministries, commissions for application of behaviour codes, quality commissions, national consumer councils, all of whom will further promote awareness and the circulation of the White Paper.

Results will also be promoted through a special web site for the project which will linked to all the participating partners, the international network and the relevant authorities, governing bodies and consumer and viewer association web sites in each country.

A final European conference will be organised.

Detailed project description

The way in which women are represented in the media, and especially on television in many European countries, may be considered decidedly one of gender stereotyping: women (preferably young) are represented as sexual objects of desire (in shows and through television publicity), or as a potential consumer (overbearing, sickly sweet mothers, brainless newlyweds, man-hungry singles, storybook grandmothers), or as the objects of family conflict (here the older women are often considered only to be homemakers and housewives without any interest in culture, politics or social questions) in reality programmes and talk shows. This misleading, humiliating, vulgar and debasing way of presenting women on television, especially in the field of popular entertainment (which is the main money-maker and opinion leader for many broadcasters), has accustomed the public to expect little else. The effect on adolescent girls, whose only television role models are starlets, under dressed nymphets and “dumb waitress stage presences” can already be seen in their statistically researched changing ambitions and in the rising number of aspirants for any kind of audition. Sadly, in some regions, there are even full time courses to prepare young girls for auditions in order to become “veline” (the half naked nymphets seen on some programmes) that are paid for with funding from the European Social Fund.

This situation seems to be considered “almost normal” in many European countries, and especially in Italy, where it would appear that the real social and cultural growth and evolution of women would appear to be ignored. The resolution of this problem and situation requires a complex strategy involving legislative and legal experts, opinion leaders, researchers, the media and the national associations working on behalf of women, children and consumers all working together to raise an awareness of the situation and how it may be resolve. It is particularly important to involve women themselves at all levels of society. The message to be spread is that we must convince and force the media to project a more accurate image of modern woman (which must include the various ethnic communities present in our countries, the professions and occupations that women undertake, the way in which women are present at different levels of society and their educational levels). This ongoing project should help us to overcome the distorted image that the television screen reflects back on us.

The target groups are: institutions, public opinion, the media, women and women’s associations.

Approach: We intend to:

- Reveal the possibility and democratic need to act using the current codes of conduct and legislation on the issue (looking at the way in which other groups, such as minors or minority ethnic groups, from which some interesting examples may be taken, face their problems).

- Raise initial awareness among European institutions through the creation of a European database on the issue.

Project activities:

- content analysis on the representation of women in television

- Collection and comparison of legislation in different countries

- Comparative analysis of best practices

- White paper

- Initial seminar

- Halfway evaluation meeting

- Final seminar

- Final conference

- Monitoring

- Evaluation

- Intermediate and final report

Expected results and outputs:

- Increase in the awareness of the Media

- Institutional awareness raised

- Public opinion awareness raised

- Women’s awareness raised

- European best practices publicised and promoted in the countries with greatest problems in this areas, as well as within the new Member States.

- Promotion through the Authorities in each country (Councils, Equal Opportunity Committees, Journalist associations) of the possibility for the general public and television consumers to demand changes and to open debates.

- Reduction in violation of Codes of conduct as monitored by Commissions

- Contribution to a change of direction in current way of representing women and a move towards a more modern and correct way of presenting all that women are and stand for in the media, especially on television.

Main Objectives

Detailed project description

Project activities

Expected results
and outputs