WINDHOEK, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) is holding consultative workshops in various Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries on the findings of studies conducted on mainstreaming gender in the media, Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) reported.
The key aim of the consultative workshops, being held in collaboration with Gender Links, is to share the findings of the recent Gender and Media Progress Study, a follow-up to the 2003 Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS).
During the official opening of the one-day meeting here on Wednesday, the Director of UNESCO Office in Windhoek Alaphia Wright said the workshops are an opportunity to advance policy dialogue on women and men in the southern African media.
"As you know, the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector works specifically towards the increase of Gender perspectives in media content," he noted.
Wright said these priorities are also reflected in other UN agencies' contribution towards increased awareness and capacity building to protect the rights of women and girls.
He said gender equality is a fundamental human right, a commonly-shared value and a necessary condition for the achievement of the internationally-agreed development objectives, including all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to Wright, UNESCO believes that all forms of discrimination on the basis of gender are violations of human rights, and are a significant barrier to peace, sustainable development and the achievement of all internationally-recognised development goals.
"With this in mind," he said, "UNESCO has designated gender as one of the organisation's two global priorities in its Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013." He said in UNESCO, these priorities are supported by a dual approach, which consists of gender mainstreaming and gender-specific programming that promotes three main outcomes at the organisations level.
"Women empowerment and gender equality in SADC member States has advanced through policy dialogue and programmes promoted by UNESCO, and such commitment to gender equality has been institutionalised in the Secretariat," said Wright.
The UNESCO Director said the media, as partners, must ensure that women's rights are publicly advocated and that gender is mainstreamed in all information, communication, media policies, programmes, laws and training.