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Media4Democracy Technical Assistance Round-Up: Media, Access to Information and the Empowerment of Women and Girls

Burkina Faso, October 2019 – In a sequence of meetings convened on 7 and 8 October, Media4Democracy Experts led multi-stakeholder discussions and supported the EU Delegation (EUD) to Burkina Faso and Member States to review recommended actions to strengthen media in support of gender equality in the country.

These meetings were the close of Media4Democracy technical assistance to the EUD, supported by Consortium Partner Free Press Unlimited (FPU).

On 7 October, the EU Delegation and Media4Democracy organised a cross-sectoral meeting of women’s organisations, media, media development organisations and governmental agencies. The group reviewed potential actions to build gender equality by improving women’s representation in media content, expanding women’s roles and leadership in media institutions and finding means to change mentalities stemming from the strong patriarchal context. This meeting was opened by Antonio Marquez, Head of Governance at the EUD, attended by Member States and representatives of the Ministries of Information, of Gender and of the fight against female genital mutilation.

On 8 October, the EU Delegation and Member States met to exchange views about recommendations refined during the previous day. During the meeting, the EUD and Member States discussed possible ways to make progress at the country level. It was, for example, suggested that a gender criterion could be included in the grants annually provided to the media by the Superior Council of Communication. Other possible actions to be considered in terms of actions by the EUD and Members States in their dialogue with the authorities might be the reinforcement of the participation of women during media trainings, active engagement for increasing the number of women in the newsrooms, the production of gender-sensitive news and articles and the provision to all staff (including management) with gender training. The media’s role in supporting women’s participation in the 2020 presidential and national assembly elections were also considered.

This Media4Democracy technical assistance was launched in April with two weeks of field research to produce a report and recommendations to the EU Delegation and closed with these October meetings for the EUD and Member States. Broadly, this work focused on media as a powerful actor in shaping, reproducing and changing societal norms, expectations and beliefs related to gender equality, as well as access to information and communications technology (ICT) and information as a means of social, civil and economic empowerment for women and girls. All recommendations reviewed and refined during the two days of meeting in October emanated from the initial Media4Democracy report.

For further details on the activity and to request the report with recommendations, please send an email to