Regulation, self-regulation and co-regulation in media and gender equality

Across the globe, media industries suffer from a significant gender pay gap and gender-based discrimination and harassment. Women are underrepresented in media professions in some contexts, a challenge particularly evident at the decision-making level. This is aggravated by inequalities – in newsrooms and society – that are increasingly mirrored in media content wherein women and men are often framed in stereotypical ways.

This briefing note is designed to give readers a basic understanding of the role of media regulatory and self-regulatory systems in promoting gender equality and inclusion. It highlights the main self- and regulatory systems that reflect or affect the role of media – from the perspective of gender – and will offer a basic understanding to inspire the reader to take action and initiate change in the field. The final goal is to help inspire the introduction of a co-regulatory system wherein both regulation and self-regulation models combine to improve women’s human rights and gender equality in and through media, telecommunications, and digital platforms.

The note is aimed at media practitioners who do not necessarily have a deep understanding of the field of gender in media development; it also aims to be of interest to and relevance for women’s rights organisations, other civil society organisations, and those who want to push for gender equality and inclusion in and through the media.