Gender equality is essential to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is especially pertinent today, as China is faced with the challenge of achieving balanced growth and equitable development that benefit all people from all regions of the country and all segments of society, especially girls and women.
Despite women often being dominant when it comes to making number one hit songs, gender equality in media still has a long way to go. According to the Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media (2011), in relation to media organizations, “men hold the vast majority of the seats on governing boards and in top management across seven regions, at 74.1% and 72.7%”. In the Who Makes the News, Global Media Monitoring Project (2015), it is written that and “76% of the people heard or read about in the world’s news are male. The world seen in news media remains largely a male one.”
The UNESCO Chair on Media and Gender was thus established, on the one hand, to provide evidence and evidence-based suggestions to promote the gender equality in and through media and communications; on the other hand, to empower girls and women through capacity building among media professionals, especially in disadvantaged regions.
The Chair was originally hosted at the Communication University of China (CUC) in 2005. Yesterday, China Women’s University (CWU) officially join in the UNESCO Chair Programme as a Co-Chair on Media and Gender, which marks the beginning of the cooperation between CWU and CUC on improving women’s equality in and through media and communications.
“We have every confidence that the combined expertise and efforts from both Universities will largely enhance the institutional capacity of the Chair in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through media and communications in China,” Ms. Marielza Oliveira, Director of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office, said at the unveiling ceremony. In her speech, she also mentioned the need to pay special attention to the media professionals in disadvantaged regions in China. Ms. Li Ruiying, Broadcasting Tutor of CCTV, highly agreed with this point.
Mr. Chen Wenshen, Communist Party Secretary of CUC, also highlighted, “the establishment of the Co-chair can further expand the social and international influence of the two universities in the fields of higher education, communication and information and women's development.”
Since its establishment, the Chair’s team have carried out extensive research, teaching, training, academic exchange and cooperation in the field. In recent years, the Chair has transformed a number of UNESCO global initiatives on gender and media into actions in China, such as the annual celebration of Women Make the News.
“Platform for academic research and social collaboration on Media and Gender … will contribute to spread the stories, rich experiences and specific positions of Chinese women to the world,” said Prof. Liu Liqun, Chair-holder of UNESCO Chair on Media and Gender and President of CWU.
“We will further enhance the communication and cooperation with UN agencies and women's organizations from other countries, and strive to promote gender equality, women's all-round development, and world peace,” stressed Mu Hong, Chief of Liaison Department of the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF).
The Chair has been playing a significant role in the field of media and gender studies in China. The Chair has carried out over 30 important research projects, and published more than 30 publications and over 100 academic papers. In addition, nearly 100 people completed their study in Communication Studies with a focus on Media and Gender Studies in the past years.
Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which involves over 700 institutions in 116 countries, promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies.
Appendix: UNESCO Chair in China (updated in September 2018)
UNESCO Chair in Plant Biotechnology (1992), Peking University, Beijing (62)
UNESCO Chair in Cultural Management (1998), Southeast University (S.E.U.), Nanjing (411)
UNESCO Chair in Continuing Engineering Education (1999), Tsinghua University, Beijing (429)
UNESCO Chair in Higher Education (1999), Peking University, Beijing (461)
UNESCO Chair in Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (2001), The Renmin University of China, Beijing (552)
UNESCO/ EOLSS Chair in Science and Technology Policies (2001), Zhongshan (Sun Yat- Sen) University, Guangzhou (633)
UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education (2004), The East China Normal University, Shanghai (664)
UNESCO Chair on Cooperation Between Higher Engineering Education and Industries (2005), Beijing Jiao-Tong University, Beijing (672)
UNESCO Chair on Media and Gender (2005), Communication University of China / China Women’s University, Beijing (690)
UNESCO/COUSTEAU Ecotechnie Chair (2005), Yunnan University (709)
UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurial Education (2010),the Zhejiang University, Hangzhou (892)
UNESCO Chair in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Lifelong Learning (2011), The Hong Kong Institute of Education (915)
UNESCO Chair in South-South Cooperation on Science and Technology to Address Climate Change (2012), Beijing Institute of Technology, China Science and Technology Exchange Center (963)
UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education (2012), University of Hong Kong (976)
UNESCO/IOC Chair on Ocean and Urban Development (2014), East China Normal University (1042)
UNESCO Chair on Ceramic Culture: Preservation and Creativity (2017), Jingdezhen University (1219)
UNESCO Chair on Industrial Heritage (2017), Huazhong University of Science and Technology (1241)
UNESCO Chair on Peace Studies (2017), Nanjing University (1242)