Gender equality in and through the media is the focus of a UNESCO-supported global collaboration between RMIT University and eighteen other universities.
Co-chairing the network is RMIT’s Professor Lisa French, Deputy Dean (Media) along with Dr Aimée Vega Montiel from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
The network’s first meeting was recently held at RMIT Europe, which included a public forum open to researchers, students as well as journalists interested in gender, media and ICTs.
RMIT's Lisa French said the public forum helped to inform the network's strategies across research and education for promoting gender equality in and through the media on a global scale.
“Our focus is on identifying the ways we can work towards equality," French said.
"This may be through research, educational initiatives, policy and advocacy campaigns, partnerships for education as well as industry engagement.
“So far we’ve come up with some exciting and innovative approaches, including a global mapping exercise of all of existing related courses and gender-sensitive strategies for teaching media and ICTs," she said.
Global student and staff research projects and exchanges have also been identified as potential approaches to fostering equality across the media in addition to an exploration of the ways the gap between academia and industry can be managed.
“And finally, we're also looking to develop gender-sensitive curriculum guidelines that will be available globally for educational institutions that are teaching media and ICTs,” French said.
The work of French and her peers across the network is supported through UNESCO’s University Twinning and Networking (UniTWIN) program.
Mirta Lourenço, UNESCO Chief of the Section for Media Development and Society, participated in the recent public forum in Barcelona.
Lourenço said that UNESCO greatly values the network because it brings together researchers, teachers and administrators from different universities and from different countries.
"The network enables major dialogue beyond boarders and the development of important information for descion-making and policy advocacy," she said.
Network members are drawn from all regions, including Africa, the Arab states, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
Story: Karen Matthews