Donne in quota

19 Marzo 2016

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, as an official side-event of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 60th Session, we are thrilled to welcome you to a distinguished panel presenting "Issues and Opportunities" on the topic of gender and media, on behalf of theGlobal Alliance on Gender and Media (GAMAG) Europe and North America Region. 

Ms. Gulser Saniye Corat - Director of the Division of Gender Equality, Office of the UNESCO Director-General

Ms. Teresa Carreras – Coordinator, La Independent, Catalan News Agency with Gender Vision; International Network of Women Journalists (Spain): Video Statement

Ms. Cheryl D. Miller - Founder and Executive Director, Digital Leadership Institute (Belgium): Women and Digital Media

Dr. Carolyn M. Byerly - Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, Howard University: Implications of media conglomeration for women media professionals and citizens

Dr. Diana Nastasia - International Researcher on Voices and Portrayals of Marginalized Populations as Women, Children, Immigrants, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (USA): IAWRT Media Monitoring Project

Ms. Greta Gober - Centre for Gender Research, University of Oslo (Norway):  Research on Gender Inequality in Media Industries (Statement)

Dr. Lisa McLaughlin - Associate Professor of Media and Culture, Department of Media Journalism and Film; Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Department of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio (USA)

Ms. Sepi Roshan - Communication Skills, Leadership and Media Training Consultant; Founder and Managing Editor of Astute Radio (UK): Video Statement

Ms. Lois A. Herman – Coordinator WUNRN, Women’s UN Report Network; Global WUNRN Gender ListServe: Gender Stereotypes

Ms. Jenny Ronngren – Managing Editor, Feministiskt Perspektiv (Sweden): Statement    

Ms. Donatella Martini – WECAMS, Women’s European Coalition Against Media Sexism (Italy): Self-Regulatory Organizations and How They Are Not Working for Sexist Ads (Statement)

Moderator: Ms. Cheryl D. Miller - Founder and Executive Director, Digital Leadership Institute (Belgium)

Social Media:  Please find Facebook and Twitter details for GAMAG Europe and North America below.  For this event, we will use the following hashtags:  #CSW60 #genderandmedia

Here is Wecams statement (come da allegato):


Dear Colleagues, we are very sorry we were not able to be with you in New York.

For this reason, we asked to Lois Hermann to read our speech, hoping it will be useful for your discussion. Thank you, dear Lois.

It is long established that the frequent and unrelenting portrayal of women as sexual objects plays a key role in maintaining gender inequality.

The CEDAW Committee (UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) has repeatedly called on governments to take action against the stereotyping of women, arguing that such representations contribute to women’s disadvantaged position in a number of areas including in the labour market and in access to decision-making positions, and affect women’s choices in their studies and professions.

The European Parliament has also voted in favour of several gender equality resolutions, including the adoption of a report which calls on both advertisers to stop using sexist stereotypes and member states to monitor how gender is portrayed in advertising. Sexual objectification has a negative impact on both the aspirations and self-esteem of women and girls and promotes attitudes and behaviours  associated with discrimination and violence against women.

But till now nothing happens. Governments are not working seriously to change culture (with only France as an exception), advertisers continue to use sexist stereotypes and member states are not monitoring anything.

That’s why in March 2013, three feminist groups - DonneinQuota for Italy, Chiennes de garde for France and Object for U.K. – founded WECAMS (Women’s Coalition against Media Sexism) with the specific aim to bring an end to sexism in the media in all Europe.

All three groups campaigned against sexist, objectifying and dehumanising representations of women in their own countries for many years.

As a result, we increased public awareness on this problem but  we couldn’t draw any  politicians’ attention.

We need politicians because we cannot wait any longer for  a specific law regarding the portrayal of women in advertising as in Italy, in the UK and in France we still don’t have it.

In this void of rules, more than 60 years ago, the advertising industry (advertisers, advertising agencies and media providers) founded  Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) in many European countries and gathered them in a federation called EASA (European Advertising Standards Alliance).

SROs do the following things:

Handle complaints

Give copy advice (in most countries, check each single SRO for further information)

Give pre-clearance (in very few countries, check each single SRO for further information)

Monitor ads to check that they comply with the code

At the end, SROs are private organizations financed by advertising agencies and media providers, who claim to be indipendent  either from the government and from specific interest groups.

In their website we read: “Self-regulatory organisations are independent: their job is maintaining advertising standards, not protecting the interests of individual advertisers, agencies or media. Although the codes are written by the industry, they are impartial and the procedures of the complaints committees which apply them are designed to be independent and unbiased”.

SROs are considered like a public authority on sexism as they are the only one who seems to care about it.

We do not agree on this opinion for two simple reasons:

- SROs do not respect European Resolutions even if DonneinQuota, Chiennes de garde and Object  tried to push local SROs (IAP for Italy, ARPP for France and ASA for U.K.) to do it

- without gender experts in their juries, they are not in the position to judge sexism

Last but not the least, in our opinion, only National Women’s Rights Ministers - in accordance with feminist groups - have the right to issue precise guidelines regarding women’s representation in the media.

When WECAMS started to work, we had clear in our minds we need:

-       to oblige SROs to respect European  Resolutions with MEPs’ support

-       to convince MEPs about the necessity to have a Directive on this matter, while we continue to ask to our National Governments to issue a specific law

With strong support from MEPs Silvia Costa (Italy), Sylvie Guillaume (France) and Mary Honeyball (U.K.), we met twice in Brussels with EASA (European Advertising Standards

Alliance), the network of advertising self-regulation bodies.

They promised to consider how it could use its standard-setting role to help ending sexism in advertising but till today we haven’t heard any news from them yet.

So now we are working to reach our second goal and are organizing an event at the European Parliament in Bruxelles in order to sensibilize MEPs on this subject.





Logo CG