MDX Associate Professor of Journalism Dr Sophie Knowles has joined UN Women as a consultant on Gender and Equality.
This month she joined a two-day event on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in Albania that brought together journalists from the region, delegates from UN Women and other experts to discuss media’s role in promoting gender equality.
There has been a large-scale UN project in the Balkan region to highlight the contribution women make to the economy, especially through unpaid labour, and the different ways women access and use public services. Women are disproportionately impacted by economic crises, and the pandemic and current cost-of-living-crisis have heightened the problem.
“Economic policies can alleviate inequalities, but they can also exacerbate them,” said Dr Knowles. The UN believes that GRB is an accelerator to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals because it addresses the root causes of inequality and promotes economic growth and sustainable development. Governments are encouraged to apply gender responsive budgeting, and for the disadvantaged to demand accountability.
Dr Knowles shared her research at the event to demonstrate how journalists can report on the economy through a gendered lens. Practical examples were shared with a cohort of journalists that UN Women Albania work with closely. This work is a powerful example of how knowledge can be turned into action, the power of research to enable the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UN’s belief in the role of journalism in society.
Dr Knowles said: “Fewer women compared to men report on the economy, and far fewer women experts are quoted as sources of information. Moreover, there is very little coverage on gender gaps – there are many (not just in pay). This has a big impact on the way this sphere of power is framed, and the way it impacts policy. UN Women are taking some important steps to redress this power imbalance.”
In March 2023, Dr Knowles spoke at House of Commons about how economic inequality is portrayed in the media. The event, which also launched research from a book Dr Knowles co-edited, was an important platform to debate policy recommendations created following a roundtable held at MDX last summer.
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