Promoting gender equality is a critical part in prevention of gender based violence.
Social expectations that define appropriate behavior for women and men can contribute to gender inequities in access to health care, education, employment opportunities, levels of income, political participation and representation and other activities such as sports. Often inequalities in gender increase the risk of acts of violence against women and girls.
The Law on Gender Equality in BiH that “regulates, promotes and protects gender equality and guarantees equal opportunities for all citizens,” has been adopted in 2006. However it is obvious that the gender equality has not been fully achieved and discrimination and inequity based solely on the gender is present in all spheres of life in BiH, in particular in media representation of women’s roles in sports, culture and politics.
Nowadays women are represented in almost all sports; unfortunately media does not give them equal attention. Despite winning a BiH state championship for the eighth time in a row, very few people know of SFK 2000 Sarajevo girls’ soccer team’s success.
Media is undeniably powerful in shaping and defining the public discourse, including the perseverance of gender roles and the possible projection of negative and stereotypical images of women. While male athletes, especially those in soccer or basketball, get media coverage regardless of their success (stories about their vacations, sprained foot, etc.), the same treatment is not guaranteed for female athletes not even when they bring gold medals from international competition.
Association of BiH journalist conducted a study on “Monitoring of printed media in BiH – Prevalence and portrayal of women in the media”, and these are some of their findings.
– Women are marginalized in the media, they are misrepresented and underrepresented
– They are not addressed in gender-appropriate way
– The media presents women more like transmitters of someone else’s opinion rather than a protagonists of the events with a strong personal view on a subject at hand
– The media is not sensitive to women’s issues nor does it portray the success of women
– Media reproduces patriarchal model of women in a society
– The portrayal of women is almost identical in all local media, which might mean that there is a dominant discourse in the community