Women’s voices are essential to the development of societies; correspondingly, gender equality and female empowerment are necessary to finding solutions to the world’s most pressing development challenges. Although gender concerns have been part of development programs for almost 40 years, a wide range of stakeholders report that it continues to be an afterthought, or just a box to tick during program implementation.
This paper argues that like other sectors, the media development sector needs to bring greater empirical rigor to its operations in order to bring about gender integration. It attempts to orient media development practitioners with both a historical and contemporary view of key policies, research and approaches to gender integration, as produced by media development scholars, practitioners and the donor community. Through in-depth interviews with Internews country staff around the world, and a number of leading stakeholders, including representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Open Society Foundation (OSF), the World Bank, think tanks and academic experts, the paper looks at the following questions and issues:
- What does gender integration or gender equality mean and how do these terms apply to media development?
- Does gender matter for media development programs, and if so, why?
- What are the biggest challenges donors and practitioners face in supporting gender goals through media development?
- What are the best practices or outstanding examples of media development programs or achievements that have helped advance gender goals?
- What are the priorities for gender goals in terms of media related work?