Effects of Mass Media on the Empowering Women

Governments, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations are responsible for the prevention of all forms of discrimination against women. Besides all of them, the responsibility of the mass media is also big in this issue. Because the effect of media is very large in the dissemination and interpretation of a lot of knowledge, innovation and the news. Today, the media constitute a big part of our lives. Almost everyone benefits from the mass media. Actually, it’s a really big power to announce our thoughts and our goals about empowering women’s economy. Why do not we bring up the ideas about media efforts for women’s economic empowerment? -What is the role of the mass media in the creation of women's social roles to reinforce them? -How can we benefit from mass media for gender equality and women's economic empowerment? -How can be improved women's visibility and effect in the decision making process in the media sector? Please add your valuable ideas and questions too.

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  • Chiara Luna Marmai

    I find that the role of the mass media  into economic emancipation of women is quite inconsistent. On one hand, the TV and the newspapers with the use of the female figure as a stereotype of male desire, the object woman , and on the other, the presence of many women who are well established, successful and renowned for their commitment and their skills. 
    The Mass Media, however, like all social media, are good and practical means to increase, through the dissemination of healthy concepts of being woman, of what is the role of women in modern society, of good examples that women give us everyday, of the results they have achieved and continue to reach out to women in many fields of economics and beyond, the social consideration of women,  giving to young women good ideas and examples for their economic empowerment.
    Mass Media could also make a strong contribution, with the implementation of media campaigns, to the dissemination of the concept of gender equality. 
    If people see in the media the overcome of the differences between men and women will bring him back into everyday life.
    The Mass Media have always unconsciously affected and influenced the thinking and behavior of each of us.

  • Poh Ching Tan

    Other than the mass media, the social media like Twitter, facebook, google+, instagram etc are finding their way, into influences in many aspects of our lives, as the world becomes more and more connected.  News and opinions are shared more easily, at every hour and anywhere as many own smartphone or tablet with data plan.

  • Jennifer Perkins

    I have found everyone's entries extremely interesting! From my own perspective, I have seen social media used to campaign for women's health with some success. In particular, organizations focused on women's health seem to have mastered the art of the hashtag, viral Facebook posts, tweets, etc., to reach out to women who might otherwise not voice their support (say, by attending a rally in person).

    What I don't see very much of--which is not to say it doesn't exist--is social media used to promote free/reduced-cost government and non-profit programs/training that would more directly and immediately impact women's economic empowerment. I don't see universities/colleges/community schools in the US reaching out to women in this manner. I don't see STEM groups using social media to find women at a younger age.

    Has anyone seen social media used for campaigns like these? That are specifically focused on labor rights, job and training opportunities, tax credits, etc.?

  • Sharon Reed

    The Geena Davis Institute is an excellent example of US-based organization that is working to change negative stereotypes of women in mass media and increase positive role models of women in film. This fall, they will host three symposiums (NY/DC/LA), convening key leaders in the entertainment, corporate and non-profit sectors to discuss the impact of global films on women and girls and best practices to drive change. They'll also be presenting research findings from the first ever global gender in film study, which analyzes female character representation and portrayals in the top 12 theatrical box office grossing countries including: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, and UK -- all compared against the U.S.

    To learn more about the work the Geena Davis Institute is doing, visit their site at www.seejane.org

    Sesame Street is also leveraging their influence on children and have developed culturally-adaptive muppets to portray positive role-modeling for girls. They're also using their muppets to empower children as a whole, while addressing and educating children on humanitarian issues such as global hunger. 





  • Naiara Nunes

    Well, when I think about this specific topic the first two countries that appear in my mind are South Korea and (the one I live in) Brazil. In South Korea that " Eastern Barbie model" that every women must follow if they want to be successfull, not only in their personal life, but as well in their business areas ; is a little bit unnecessary , I think; In Brazil, as we have a multicultural and multiracial formation we do try to accept, little by little the different aspects of every single women or men. We , Brazilians,have seen in the last decade more black (and rich) women in television, fat people who accepted themselves and were happy and healthy ; disabled people who constructed "good lifes" for them; multiracial marriages and the most important thing we have seen more ordinary people who become successful in their lifes giving their testimony in the tv . When more people who are normal like us gain some acknowledgment; we start believing that we are able to gain more space ; to conquest a job , to love someone who we do like not someone we are obliged to live with ; to open a business and etc .

  • Mukami Mungai

    hi Semiha,thanks for sharing our website.I have also listened to Megan's link you sent and i  must say it  is very informative and an eye opener.

  • Mukami Mungai

    Great points you have made here.media remains one of the most efficient medium for letting the whole world know what the womenfolk are up to.infact in Kenya,media is the most trusted institution by the population.it is through the media that people know what is happening around them and across the globe.i am a practicing journalist and i know the importance of media in exhibiting many ways in which women are economically empowering themselves be it in the boardrooms,in politics,and at the grassroots.i believe women hold up the sky.the things they do to ensure that their families are well taken care of equals to none.they engage in small businesses that help the grow,provide food,clothes,proper medical care and education for their families.

    documentation of these super stories by extraordinary women need to be done to seek for more help from donor so that such women feel that someone holds their hand.the organization i work for Hand in Hand Eastern Africa operates on a vision of alleviation of poverty through job creation and on the mission of economically and socially empowering women .http://handinhand-ea.org/

    i thank this platform because i will be able to share our success stories with the world and people can learn to appreciate women more.

  • Delphine Meunier

    Mass media, and by extension mass culture, shape our standards in our daily life.

    TV ? There was an article on the tv shows Orphan Black and Buffy the Vampire Slayer : why is Orphan Black fighting for the same issue that Buffy won 10 years ago ? Aka : Buffy was a success in setting a strong and realistic woman as a standard. Ten years later, Orphan Black is fighting for the same result.

    Movies ? Zoe Saldana just stated that women roles in space are more interesting that on earth : in space, a woman cannot only be the love interest or a secondary character (if she is in space, she is extremely strong, either as a human or alien; and in space you don't have that many people so of course you give more attention to women etc)... So yeah, it is not a glass ceiling, it is just that we have to fly !

    Video Games ? Ubisoft was recently extremely criticized for not including female characters among the playable characters of Assassin's Creed Unity, and you have 4 of them. Their excuse ? They would have to basically redo the game to fit the proportions of a woman (plus the voice acting etc)... Apparently, according to other specialists, it would take two days to add female characters in a game. And a firm like Ubisoft, so huge and with so much money, can spend a few days and spend some money for the sake of humanity.

    Of course, there are also improvements. Actresses are more respected than ever (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Helen Miren, Judy Dench, Angelina Jolie, Emily Deschanel etc), and in video games you have more female characters with an important role (my all times favorite being Lara Croft, sexy but still smart, cultivated, strong, with a past). 

    Not all the women are strong. But according to the mass media, most of the women are uninteresting. And when a woman is stronger or smarter than the usual, it is a unique human being.

  • Laura Isidean

    Mass media plays a tremendous role in shaping women's roles in society - in the past, many stereotypes portrayed in mass media have unfortunately held women back.

    Fortunately, there appears to be a new wave of consciousness and action emerging, where women are being portrayed as strong and capable, achieving anything they set their mind to.  The article "Shattering Stereotypes Through Ads" is a recent example of these efforts to change perception and create positive role models:


    Of course, having more women (and committed men) involved as decision makers in mass media will also help, so the focus remains on empowering women through media, not limiting them.

  • Belinda-Rose Young


    You raised excellent points and this touches on a topic that excites me - perception! For instance, it is not uncommon to see college students in very casual clothing in the US. But let's say that after graduation, one of those former students is hired to teach a class. Before their first class they more than likely will consciously or subconsciously think about what it means to be a teacher. Part of this will include what they must now wear to class. Where do we get this notion? From culture and the media. Both of these (culture and media) factors greatly impact on our perception. So when we think about how a professor talks and acts and dresses, it is based on what we have seen modeled through media and culture. With that said, media can have a great impact on how gender norms are perceived and also how men and women decide to behave. Media has certainly reinforced gender roles. Through media, women have also viewed women behaving outside of the accepted gender norm. Thus, media has helped in creating a counter-culture of what it means to be a woman. This means that more discussion needs to be done through media outlets on women's liberation from gender norms. A good example of this was a recent occurrence on Twitter where Robin Thicke had a question and answer session (#AskThicke). Many men and women asked him hard questions about misogyny and supporting sexual violence against women. Though some posts were comical, the point was clear - we are not accepting your position of women. More discussion through talk shows and strategically written commercials, tv shows, and movies should be had to continue the fight for women's equality.

    Robin Thicke Twitter Incident: http://time.com/2945115/askthicke-robin-thicke-twitter-hashtag-disaster/


    What we should be talking about here are female owned media houses, the mainstream media houses have not only stuck with the traditional definition of a woman's role but they have also made her a sex object through the advetrs .how do we encourage the girls to pursue sustainable economic activities when the media is busy brainwashing them with with the likes of 'socialites' craze ?


    What we should be talking about here are female owned media houses, the mainstream media houses have not only stuck with the traditional definition of a woman's role but they have also made her a sex object through the advetrs .how do we encourage the girls to pursue sustainable economic activities when the media is busy brainwashing them with with the likes of 'socialites' craze ?

  • Samantha Wood

    I think this is an especially important topic to raise Semiha! I believe questioning the way women are portrayed in the media is a crucial starting point in the empowerment of women and an issue I feel very strongly about. It is a complex issue with many facets which require scrutiny and above all it is up to us as women to encourage uplifting and empowering perceptions of women and discourage those that do not foster respect and dignity.

    There of course exists topical and invasive issues of body image and misogynist perceptions of women in social media, music and music videos, politics and TV. The younger generation is increasingly being exposed to images of women in a variety of ways and while it is not easy to pinpoint the exact degree of influence this has on the perception of women's social roles it is safe to say that it leads to a high degree of confusion among other things. Positive role models are an important way of leading social media and politics towards productive perceptions of women (more about this in the discussion entitled 'She Inspired Me').

    In particular, looking at Australian TV or media in general there is a lack of educated, informed women speaking about issues that affect our citizens and while this may not lead to inherently negative outcomes for girls or women, I believe this is a positive way to enact change (keeping in mind Australia is ranked 24th in the Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum).  I can say that programs like Q&A (shown late at night) or SBSprograms (not advertised on the main national channels) are amongst the only positive contributions to the perception of women in Australian TV with interviews and debates between prominent women in politics or other fields being shows at times. This is is not enough to inspire the young girls of our generation who need more accessible evidence of empowered women rising to the top of their field and leading a life they are passionate about (of course apart from the women who they come across in their daily lives). I speak in terms of girls who are from migrant backgrounds in particular in Australia and who aspire to lead meaningful careers. In general we see women from Anglo backgrounds on TV in primarily entertainment positions. I am inspired when I see girls from migrant backgrounds being heard by national Australian media on issues of national importance like the economy or human rights (Samah Hadid was one young woman who inspired me) however these occasions are few and far between. 

    I would firstly like to see girls from migrant or Indigenous backgrounds better represented on Australian TV, above all for the younger generation of Australian girls like my 16 year old sister. This is a way to close the gender gap in Australia and encourage a change in thinking.

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