Rewriting the Story: addressing unequal media representations of women politicians

Dr. Lucia Rodriguez, ReMap member, Lecturer on MA Digital Media: Production and researcher in Queer and Feminist Media Studies, explains her recent project: Rewriting the Story. Gender, Media & Politics.

Rewriting the Story- women's unequal media representation
Rewriting the Story- women’s unequal media representations

“A woman politician is always described as a woman politician in the media, her sex is always on display, always the primary descriptor. She is defined by what she is not, that is, she is not a ‘typical’ politician”  (Ross, 2005)

This blog post summarizes the goals and activities developed within the project “Rewriting the Story. Gender, Media & Politics”, an EU-Funded initiative led by the International Federation of Journalists in partnership with the University of Padova and COPEAM. Its main objective is to tackle the barriers hindering the fair representation of women and men in politics and public life.

Over the past two years, ReMAP member Lucia Vazquez has been at the forefront of this project, which is set to revolutionize media practices ahead of the 2024 European Election by fostering gender equality and non-stereotyped media representations. From building bridges between media stakeholders to conducting in-depth research on gender biases in political media coverage, the project’s agenda is as ambitious as it is crucial. It involves developing specialized training modules for both students and seasoned media practitioners, fostering international teaching partnerships, and equipping journalists’ instructors with the tools needed to drive change within their respective media unions.

One of the project’s standout initiatives is the creation of the Media Monitoring Tool, designed to track and address gender disparities in political media coverage. Additionally, a Peer-to-Peer program has been implemented to instil gender equality principles within newsroom environments.

All materials developed within the project -including the Training the Trainers Toolkit, the PowerPoint presentations developed within the teaching partnership, the projects created by participating students, and the relevant literature and learning activities designed for “Rewriting the Story”- are freely available on the AGEMI website (Advancing Gender Equality in Media Industries). Furthermore, the project’s impact will be showcased at the upcoming Final Conference, set to take place from October 13-16 2024 at Venice International University. This event promises to be a melting pot of ideas, bringing together broadcasters, journalist unions, educators, researchers, and students to discuss the project’s outcomes and future endeavours.

In essence, “Rewriting the Story” is not just about transforming media landscapes; it’s about empowering women, establishing intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogues, challenging stereotypes, and forging a more inclusive society where everyone’s voice is heard.

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