ODI event: tackling gender norms through media

June 2019
A panel debate looking at the potentials and pitfalls of tackling harmful gender norms through media.

The power of the media to influence gender norms both towards greater equality and reinforcing discriminatory attitudes and behaviour has long been recognised. Through the representation of men and women on television shows, news, social media and advertising, gender norms are demonstrated, negotiated and challenged. Public policymakers and donors support the potential of mass media to educate, and change attitudes and behaviours, investing particularly in edutainment (soap operas) and interactive media such as phone-ins and chat shows.

This panel debate, recorded in June 2019, critically analyses the power of media as a space for positive change to gender norms, exploring the merits and limitations of different types of mass media, focusing on:

  • Whether one form of media is more powerful than others for challenging harmful gender norms?
  • Examples of media influencing campaigns aimed at gender equality back-firing
  • Whether a cross-media approach is always best to tackle the complexity of gender norms?
  • Who the power for norm change lies with?
  • How norm change through media influence can be monitored?