In honor of Zonta’s 100th anniversary, the Zonta Club of Mainz, Germany, District 28, held an event in the format of a panel discussion on the topic “Women and the Media.” Their goal was to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.
Women’s image and role in the media is heavily influenced by existing social and cultural norms, discrimination and by hypersexualized images and, as the #MeToo debate shows, often by sexual violation. The club’s goal was to shed light on an industry that is male-dominated with a significant lack of women in leadership positions. This industry has a high impact on how women and men are perceived in society.
Five prominent and well-known women of different media businesses in high-ranking positions discussed this topic from the different angles of their companies: the director of a big broadcasting company, the president of the film academy, an independent film producer and the executive director of one of the leading publishing companies.
The discussion under the lead of an anchor woman in German TV, emphasized once more, that only a change in gender relations can generate women’s empowerment and that abolishing negative traditional gender stereotypes is key to achieving gender equality.
The experts highlighted that they have taken considerable measures in their companies to create a positive and non-stereotyped image of women and men in the media, to combating women’s image of inferiority and submission as well as any stereotypes about men’s masculinity.
The discussion also revealed self-reflection and the need to accept leadership and directions from women.
The event under the auspices and in presence of the Minister for Family, Women, Youth and Integration of Rhineland-Palatinate took place in the location of the broadcasting company and attracted over 230 participants, Zontians and non-Zontians.
Finger food and drinks were served at the reception following the event and gave attendees ample opportunity to raise awareness of the many fields of discrimination in women’s lives and of Zonta’s mission to empower women and girls.