How are women represented in the media and how can media help to prevent violence against women? These questions were the focus of a discussion initiated by the Gender@International Bonn at the DW Global Media Forum.
From left to right: Vincent-Immanuel Herr, Christine Brendel, Jaafar Abdul Karim (presenter) and Rasha El-Ibiary
Experts and participants called upon the media to increase their efforts to become a crucial stakeholder in ending violence against women. Deutsche Welle presenter Jaafar Abdul Karim reminded the audience that "violence against women and girls is a global problem of epic proportions. At least one out of three women worldwide experiences violence during her lifetime."
Christine Brendel, Regional Manager of the program “Fighting violence against women in Latin America” at Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ): "Freedom of the media ends when it violates the right to a life in dignity and freedom from violence.”
Kristina Lunz, founder of the campaign “Stop BILD Sexism,” said: “It's not rocket science that the persistent objectification of women and girls in our media creates a climate in which there is widespread and ubiquitous violence against them. Science has long proven that the objectification of females in the media leads to dehumanizing them, which in turn lowers the barriers of perpetrating violence against them.”
Rasha El-Ibiary, Assistant Professor for Political Mass Media at the Future University in Egypt, presented statistics stating that in Egypt almost every woman experiences sexual harassment at some point. El-Ibiary emphasized that “media plays an important role in being an objective reporter that needs to address sexual harassments not as a series of individual incidents but as a part of the socio-political and cultural context.”
Writer Vincent-Immanuel Herr, the only man on the panel, stressed that “as men we need to understand the details of structural causes for gender inequality from the female perspective. That is why I joined #HeForShe [a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women], in order to have a greater understanding of the problem and be in a better position to join women in realizing their demands for equality and a life free from violence.”
The workshop was organized on behalf of the network Gender@international Bonn by GIZ, Deutsche Welle, the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia and UN Women National Committee Germany.