Turn up the volume: empowering women through media

Women are under-represented in the decision-making processes that affect their lives, from G20 summits and national parliaments, to local governments and even households. In many cases, media not only reflects inequalities between men and women, but also amplifies and entrenches them.

Publication date: October 2016

Author: Josephine Casserly

Overview: This practice briefing sets out what BBC Media Action has learned about how media can provide a platform for both men and women to hold their leaders to account, while empowering them to participate in their own communities. 

Unpicking the challenges faced and the solutions found, it will bring together practice and research to examine how effective our factual programmes have been in reaching and impacting on men and women equally.

The paper argues that these projects have been effective in building political knowledge, levels of discussion of governance issues and political participation among both men and women. However, it also draws the tentative conclusion that, in Nepal and Bangladesh, the programmes may be less effective at empowering female audiences to participate in politics than men.

After setting out the global picture for gender and governance, the paper outlines BBC Media Action’s approach to supporting women to participate in their communities and hold their leaders to account.  It then unpacks the challenges of creating gender-sensitive governance programmes and weighs up how successful BBC Media Action has been in reaching and impacting women. The paper concludes with some recommendations to inform future programming.