The 2005 Global Media Monitoring Project found that women politicians are consistently under-represented in news coverage. For instance, in Portugal they make up 25% of parlamentarians but only 2% of politicians in news coverage are female. Generally, the proportion of women among politicians in the news ranged from a high of 30% in Norway to a low of 2% Italy and Portugal.
The Portraying Politics: Media, Poltics and Gender aims to challenge the lack of representation and media stereotypes of female politicians.
The idea behind the project is that any change in how female politicians are portrayed on television will have to come from the media professionals themselves. Well-meant attempts by civil society groups to influence reporting can be seen as outside interference in newsroom decision-making. Journalism training offers the opportunity to sensitise programme makers and to show that fair coverage of women in politics can improve quality of broadcasting.
Nine partners are working in a European Commission supported project that will produce a training kit for broadcasters showing how fair representation of women in politics makes for better television.
The project builds on the experience of the Screening Gender training toolkit, which was produced in May 2000 and which has since been translated into some 10 European languages.
The project is lead by the European Federation of Journalists and includes the broadcasters BBC, NRK of Norway, the Dutch RNTC and RBB and ZDF in Germany as well as the European Journalism Centre, the University of Malta and the European Journalism Training Association.