Challenges of Gender Equality in Media (Case of Georgia)

According to UNESCO’s World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development report, while there is progress, women journalists are still more exposed to assault, threat or physical, verbal or digital attack than their male counterparts (UNESCO, 2018). Georgia (country) faces challenges regarding feticide, domestic violence, employment of women, early or forced marriages, sexual harassment, blackmailing of female journalists, and there is a low awareness about gender equality. According to international reports (MSI, Freedom House) the media landscape in Georgia is partly free. The goal of the research is to analyze the media landscape in Georgia from a gender equality perspective and provide recommendations for raising awareness on gender- sensitive issues. According to EBU gender equality guidelines (2019), in Europe, women represent 44% of the public service media workforce, but only 25% of executive positions. Stereotypes and biases persist in media and there is an urgent need to show a realistic picture. Media figures can strengthen or reduce stigmatization and stereotypes regarding groups and individuals. Traditionally, the news industry has been dominated by men (Ross et al., 2018) and researchers argue (Melin-Higgins, 2014; Ruoho & Torkkola, 2018) that woman in media often have top positions in woman’s magazines or in media product about beauty at etc. However, in Georgia analysis confirms the hypothesis, that women are dominated in the media sector (and not only in woman’s magazines). As to the positioning, according to GMMP’s replication study (2015), there were 88% Female and 12% Male presenters (Macharia et al., 2015) in Georgia. In addition, Also in Georgian media organizations, 48% of reporters were female and 52 Male (Connor et al., 2010). Study answers research questions as it follows: • RQ 1: is there gender inequality regarding workplace and positions in Georgian media (TV, print, radio, online)? • RQ 2: what are the themes covered by women and men journalists? • RQ 3: what gender-related issues do women face in media organizations? To answer the above-mentioned questions, mixed methodological approaches have been be used: content-analysis (Research Period: 2019: from June 1 till December 31) and survey (225 journalists have been interviewed in April, 2020). Recommendations (based on findings) are provided for media organizations, educators and media practitioners
Media, Gender, Equality, Georgia, Education