E-newsletter Nov-Dec 2007
A communications initiative for a balanced, planned and stable population
Understanding gender and media
Presentation, Discussion with Advertising Professionals
As part of the Laadli campaign’s Media Advocacy component Population First’s in association with the Advertising Club Bombay, organised a presentation and panel discussion on ‘Gender nuances in advertising’. Gender consciousness is an important subject and it is hoped that the debate and discussion would enhance awareness and sensitivity to this topic. The event was well attended by advertising professionals and NGOs working on media and gender issues. It was held on October 29, 2007 at the Jade Garden, Nehru Centre, Worli from 6:45 pm to 9 pm. Supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Exchange4Media.com and its magazines Pitch and Impact were the Trade Partners.
The speakers were Mr. Santosh Desai, MD and CEO, Future Brands and Dr. A.L. Sharada, Programme Director, Population First. They presented and analysed the portrayal of men, women and children in advertisements with a view to illustrate and understand how gender stereotypes are reinforced or challenged in advertisements.
Mr. Desai traced the changing ‘face’ of the Indian woman in advertising. His presentation dwelled on how women were increasingly portrayed as anxious people, craving to look good, trying to defy aging and its signs, and how products were a means to impress the man. Dr. Sharada analysed the TVCs made in 2004-2007 under four categories and found that the girl child was missing not only from our population, but also from the advertising media!
She added, “Traditional mindsets have been used to establish brands and sell products till now. Having done that, is it not time now to use established brands and products to promote an alternative perspective?”
The presentation by the speakers was followed by a panel discussion comprising top advertising professionals including Priti Nair, National Creative Director- Grey India, Sukanya Kripalu, Director- Sukanya Consulting and veteran adman, Gerson DaCunha. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Pranesh Misra (President & COO – Lowe India).
The response to this initiative was positive and encouraging. The participants said that the analysis was an eye-opener as they had never looked at advertisements through the gender lens. They also accepted the power and potential in the hands of the advertising professionals. Many agencies requested that the presentation and discussion be scheduled for their creative teams. Five such presentations are being scheduled at leading advertising agencies between January and March 2008.
Workshops for Mass Media Students
Gender sensitisation of budding media professionals was part of the UNFPA- Laadli Media Advocacy Project. The objective was to create a pool of communicators who are aware of the interplay of gender issues in very aspect of life, be it health, politics, education, crime etc.
The Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) course of the University of Mumbai trains media professionals and provides an excellent opportunity to instill the value of gender sensitivity among the young media professionals. To ensure that the module developed fits into the existing curriculum of the BMM Course, a consultative meeting of the BMM coordinators was held in July 2007. Says Dr. Sharada, prog. director, PF, “We believe there is a need to address the issue of gender and the role of media among both, advertising and journalism students because gender sensitivity and social development issues are critical to both.”
Population First developed a module with the objective of understanding and evaluating gender issues. It also discussed the role of the media in highlighting gender issues when reporting on social development issues such as education, health, budget and finance, crime and violence is concerned.
The BMM coordinators took the initiative of organizing the workshop, registering the students and providing the venue. The workshops were conducted in Wilson, Khalsa, K.C and St. Xavier’s Colleges conducted in September to November. We were able to directly interact with over 150 students.
An interesting observation triggered the discussion on gender in the workshops. While the students initially denied the impact of gender in their lives, they also felt that women, and not the men were responsible for their inferior status in society because they had allowed men to dominate them. However, the deft handling of the concept of patriarchy and gendering from a historical perspective by the facilitators helped the students understand the issue better.
Students had a number of misconceptions regarding the issue of gender. This often led to a defensive posturing among them, particularly the boys. Placing the issue of gender in the frame work of a ‘Man –Woman equation’ rather than as ‘Woman as the Victim and Man as the Violator’ helped in easing the tension and opening up the group for a more frank exploration of gender issues.
Similarly, an open acknowledgement by the facilitators of the commercial compulsions of the media and the limitations of the media professionals in bringing about social change was also important to stop them from being defensive. As the concepts and traditional images were explored through exercises and games, there was an appreciation of the recurring gendered portrayal of the woman by the media and the role and potential available to them as media professionals for exploring alternative portrayals of both sexes.
Mumbai’s women not alone
Much has been said and written about the molestation of two women in Juhu, Mumbai on New Year’s Eve. It has angered women's organisations and the public at large. However, it’s not just in urban Mumbai, but also in rural India that women are subjected to all kinds of violence, not to mention sexual harassment. This just goes to say that the Juhu incident cannot be dismissed as a ‘one off’ case. If you feel strongly about this issue we invite you to share your experiences and views. Write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Population First, under its project ‘Maadhyam- Youth For Change’, is launching a Discussion Forum in the first week of February 2008. We thought it appropriate to have the inaugural discussion on the topic ‘Sexual harassment in public places.’ Please check back on our website for details of the time, venue and participants or write to us NOW: email@example.com. You will hear from us with the information. Maadhyam is supported by HSBC Bank.
The UNFPA-Laadli Media Awards for Western region announced
Population First announced the UNFPA-Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2006-2007 (Western Region). The Awards function was held at the Tata Theatre, Mumbai on Dec. 19, presided by Ms. Usha Thorat- Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. The Laadli Media Awards were launched in March 2007 in Mumbai to celebrate and highlight the efforts of media professionals from advertising, filmmaking, news and theatre to create a positive image of the girl child.
The entries were invited to the Awards in the categories: Advertising (print and TVCs), Print Media, Electronic Media, Films and Theatre. The jury comprised eminent media personalities A.P. Parigi, Ameen Sayani, Ashok Kurien, Divya Jagdale, Deepa Gahlot, Kirron Kher, Kalpana Sharma, Kumar Ketkar, Malavika Sangghvi, Mohammed Khan, Manish Jha, Nandini Sardesai, Nadira Babbar, Pradeep Guha, Prasoon Joshi, Preeti Vyas Gianneti, Priti Nair, Raell Padamsee, Rajesh Thawani, Ramesh Narayan, Rana Dube, Shanta Gokhale, Suneeta Rao, Tanuja Chandra and Tariq Ansari.
Await the details of the Awards in our January 2008 issue.
The Awards will be travelling to all 4 regions, the next being the South- comprising Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu. We are now calling entries from media organisations in the South. The last date for sending entries is March 05, 2008 and the Awards function will be held on March 28, 2008 at the Music Academy, Chennai. Write to Chamundeswari Baji, Regional Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Chennai readers of our e-newsletter, block the date in your diary, TODAY!
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