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Representation of Women &

Children in Media

Submission date: 13th December, 2014


MD. ASHRAFUL ALAM

ID: 1411226

Independent University, Bangladesh


Dept. of Media and Communication
Course: CMN 502 (Perspective on the Bangladesh Media)
Instructor: Rezwan-ul-Alam
Autumn 2014
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If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in
the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy
must become a means as well as an end.
- Bayard Rustin.

The aim of Media is providing lot of information to the masses in the form of advertisements,
entertainments, and news through different medium like electronic media (TV, films, internet),
and print media (newspaper, magazines, newsletters, brochures, posters, banners, and billboard).
The media providing information that is collected and edited based on the media guiding
principles of accuracy, fairness and balanced representation. Through these medium, the media
shapes the ideas, behavior and concepts of general publics. Media is playing a vital role in
changing behavior and attitudes of people. Nowadays everyone is affecting through media.
However it can be said that level can be differ. We can said that media has power to create
awareness in society. By shaping public opinions, personal perception and personal beliefs,
media influences the process of socialization and shapes ideology and thinking. The battle of
sexes existed ever since the beginning of time - even religion says that a mistake contested by a
man and woman is to be blamed for the creation of the earth. In the nineteenth century, the
central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against
totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the
struggle for gender equality around the world (Kristof, Wudunn: 2012, p5). Even though we
exist in modern times where the world is known to possess a free mind yet gender inequality is
very much visible in across different sector of society especially when it comes to the
professional field of media (IWMF, 2011). Woman and children are always under-represented in
any form of media due to lack of proper media literacy and experiment stereotypical gender
discrimination thoughts during every stage of evolution of media.

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Portrayal of Woman in Media:


The lack of women in the media is paralleled by the scarcity of women in charge of media. Only
about 5% of television writers, executives, and producers are women (Lichter, Lichter, &
Rothman, 1986). Ironically, while two thirds of journalism graduates are women, they make up
less than 2% of those papers and in corporate management of news. Only about 5% of
newspaper publishers (Women in Media, 1988). Female film directors are even as less as are
executives in charge of MTV It is probably not coincidental that so few women are behind the
scenes of an industry that so consistently portrays women negatively Some media analysts
(Mills: 1988) believe that if more women had positions and authority at executive levels, media
would offer more positive portrayals of women and are dramatically underrepresented. In prime
time television in 1987, fully two-thirds of the speaking parts were for men. Women are
portrayed as significantly younger and thinner than women in the population as a whole, and
most are depicted as passive, dependent on men, and enmeshed in relationships or housework
(Davis, 1990). The requirements of youth and beauty in women even influence news shows,
where female newscasters are expected to be younger, more physically attractive, and less
outspoken than males (Craft, 1988; Sanders & Rock, 1988). Women, as well as minorities, are
cast in support roles rather than leading ones in both childrens shows and the commercials
interspersed within them (OConnor 1989). Lack of proper valuation as human being and using
woman as a stereotypical sex object is one of the oldest guilt media outlets are carrying over
there head. A stereotypical portrayal of Bangladeshi women is also ubiquitous in the
advertisement industry. For example, one of the Bangladeshi bank's billboard has shown
achievement as perceived by three groups: The child's achievement is learning the skill of tying
a shoelace, the man's is taking his first step on the moon and the woman's achievement is getting
crowned in a beauty pageant (Ahmed, 2011).
The reason why women are not reaching the top jobs in media and under-represented is
because the higher authority and policy makers stereotypically assume that their family
responsibilities interfere with performance of their work roles, a phenomenon we call the
family-work conflict bias. Just being a woman signals family responsibilities, and puts
women at odds with current perceptions of the ideal worker. Women are underrepresented in general and occupy less central role in media where marriage and parenthood are
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considered and portrayed as more important to women than to men, as a result the traditional
division of labor is shown as typical in marriage. Employed women are shown in traditionally
female occupations as subordinates to men with little status or power. Women in media are more
passive than men and media ignores or distorts womens movement (Rezwan-Ul-Alam, Women
and children in Bangladesh media, class note 29th November, 2014).

Portrayal of Children in Media:


Children must get the best possible start in life. Their survival, protection, growth and
development in good health and with proper nutrition is the essential foundation of human
development. Like adults they also differ in the access they have to different forms of media,
such as books and magazines, radio, television, computers, Internet, music-players and mobile
phones. However, children are generally under-represented in news media (Kunkel & Smith:
1999), where child victimization stories appear to be the notable exception (Pritchard & Hughes:
1997) argued that these stories are typically appraised as high in newsworthiness because crimes
against children (who often represent purity and innocence) are rare, morally abhorred, and
constitute high deviance. In addition, news stories with child victims typically have human
interest elements and are likely to elicit viewers emotions (Chermak:1995).
Coverage of missing children cases may be disproportional based on race and gender. Also
media outlets dont maintain a proper protocol and legal instruction regarding the broadcast of
information about any individuals. Children been victimized of class and racism. For example is
America , The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there were approximately 800,000
missing children in the nation reported to police or missing childrens agencies in 2002 alone
(Sedlak, Finkelhor, Hammer, & Schultz, 2002). Demographic profiles of those missing children
show that 51% of them were boys, and 47% were racial minorities. Although around one half of
the missing children were boys and racial minorities. However it appears that mainstream
television news mostly covers cases of White missing children which creates a concern of
social justice.

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Quality and quantity of children based program are very few in numbers. Building a children
concern media centers can build a strong platform for the children to learn moral and social
ethics which will be highly revenue earning outlet. As a matter of disappointment in Bangladesh
both investors and media policy makers are concerned about this fact. In 2010 UNICEF study
finds that the media allotted very little space and time to children. During the three months
surveyed, the newspapers analyzed here published 2644 child-related stories, and the TV
bulletins aired 127 child-related items. This amounts to only three percent or less of total news
coverage by these outlets. Furthermore, the little coverage that did focus on children was
deficient in many ways. (Rezwan-Ul-Alam, Women and children in Bangladesh media, class
note 29th November, 2014).
Conclusion:
Identifying experts who combine technical knowledge with creativity and experience in proper
use women and childrens media production can be a good solution for this under-representation.
The product of this effort will be communicating with both woman and children and combing
knowledge from the fields of child development and media studies with insights from media
production maintaining proper valuation of human being as citizen of the country to provide
simple information on developmental norms at different stages of a life.

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References

IWMF (2012). Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media [online].
Source: http://www.iwmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IWMF-Global-Report.pdf
[Access: Dec 8, 2014].

Lichter, S. R., Lichter, L. S., & Rothman, S. (1986, September/October) from LUCY to
Lacey: TVs dream girls. Public Opinion, p.16-19.

Chermak, S. M. (1995). Victims in the news: Crime and the American news media. Boulder,
CO:Westview.

Mills.K (1988). A place in the news: From the womens pages to the front page. New York:
Dodd, Mead

O'Connor, J.J.(1989, June 6). What are commeciaLs selling to children? New York Times, p.28.

Davis, D. M. (1990). Portrayals of women in prune-tune network television: Some demographic


characteristics. Sex Roles, p.23, 32.

Craft, C. (1988). Too old, too ugly, and not deferential to men: An anchor woman's courageous
baffle against sex discrimination. Rockland, CA: prima.

Pritchard, D., & Hughes, K. D. (1997). Patterns of deviance in crime news. Journal of
Communication, p.47, 4967

Progotir Pathey 2009, MICS Volume I: Technical Report, UNICEF, p.14.

Barbara K, Dafna Lemish, (Nov, 2011) Unite for children 20111, UNICEF.

Sedlak, A., Finkelhor, D., Hammer, H., & Schultz, D. (2002). National estimates of
missingchildren: An overview. National incidence studies of missing, abducted, runaway, and
Communication Research Reports 215.

Kunkel, D., & Smith, S. (1999). The news medias picture of children in the United States. Inc.
von Feilitzen & U. Carlsson (Eds.), Children and media: Image, education, participation, p.79
86).

Kristof, Wudunn( 2010), Subramanian, 2012, p.5.

Ahmed, H.S. (2011). Bangladesh - Media Marketing of Beauty & Female Stereotypes [online].
Source:

http://www.violenceisnotourculture.org/content/bangladesh-media-martketing-

beauty-female-stereotypes
[Access: Dec 8, 2014].
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