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Awards and recognition

Last edited: July 28, 2020

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Media awards provide a public platform for recognizing good practice to celebrate those who are committed to gender equality within their organizations and throughout their media content and initiatives.  They can also be an incentive to encourage others to follow suit; raises awareness of what gender and media entails to a broader audience; can augment audiences accessing or pursuing better media; and can facilitate partnership-building/networking.  Such media awards exist for gender equality more broadly and for violence against women specifically. They can be found at the national, regional and global level. Though some may be one-time events, those that are conducted regularly (e.g. annually or bi-annually) are better placed to influence media practice. Media awards can range from large-scale events to very local events.

Examples of Media Awards

Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity: Known as “The Oscars” of advertising, Cannes Lions has introduced

objectification criteria for all of its juries to consider when judging work submitted to the festival. From 2019, the jury will be encouraged to reflect upon identifying harmful stereotypes within advertising, building on from the objectification guidelines introduced in 2017. These guidelines will have a significant influence on content of all kinds and sends a strong signal about the importance of reflecting gender equality as criteria for quality across the board. In addition, Cannes Lions introduced its Glass Lion: The Lion for Change; an award which specifically recognises work that challenges gender bias and shatters stereotypical images of men and women which remain rooted in marketing messages. It is the Festival’s long-held belief that marketing actively shapes culture, and the launch of the award is part of an on-going commitment to positively impact the course of communications.

#SeeHer Award for portrayal of strong, complex female characters at the Critics' Choice Awards recognizes a woman who embodies the values set forth by the #SeeHer movement, launched by the Association of National Advertisers with the goal of accurately portraying all women and girls in media by 2020. https://seeher.com/

Eliminating Violence Against Women Media Awards (Australia): honours journalists for excellence in the reporting of violence against women and celebrated news media contributions to the prevention of violence against women. http://www.evas.org.au/index.php/what-are-the-evas/about-the-evas-media-awards

The Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity (India): launched in 2007 with later support from UNFPA, these awards honour, recognize, and celebrate the efforts of those in media and advertising who highlight pressing gender concerns in India. http://populationfirst.org/Laadli%20Media%20and%20Advertising%20Awards/M__18

Annual Media Award for Excellence in Reporting on HIV and Gender-Based Violence (Papua New Guinea): UN Women and UNAIDS are supporting media awards in Papua New Guinea which recognise excellent journalism on HIV/AIDS and VAWG and the critical connections between the two. The awards started in 2015 and include support for high quality investigations and photojournalism. Winners in 2016 produced stories, which highlighted transgender women living with HIV and the case of a woman who was murdered after being accused of sorcery. News of the awards has been shared widely, allowing all the nominated and winning entries to find new readers and viewers. http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/news-and-events/stories/2016/12/writing-for-change

Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Media Awards (United Kingdom): aim to recognise exemplary reporting on violence against women and girls in print, broadcast and online news, features, comment and documentaries – reporting which explains how and why abuse happens, is respectful of victims and survivors, and which has an impact on public debate. http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/campaign/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-media-awards/

GEM-TECH Awards (Global): launched in 2014 by UN Women and ITU, these awards recognize outstanding contributions from women and men in leveraging the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote gender equality. https://www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/default.aspx

Apart from organised media awards, there are other ways to celebrate and show support for gender-sensitive media representation and handling of content related to violence against women.  These include:  

  • Naming, ’tagging’ and publicly sharing good media pieces
  • Providing positive feedback to media, when reporting in a gender-sensitive manner, either for individual pieces and/or at the end of the month or year as a regular conversation-provoking activity
  • Providing positive commentary or indicating “like” on social media
  • Sending written correspondence or email to the producers
  • Posting on community notice boards or in community centres
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