Gender in Myanmar News

Myanmar: Women’s voices underrepresented in news coverage

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

A new landmark study shows that Myanmar media favour male over female voices in news representation: only 16 percent of the voices in Myanmar news media are female.
Worldwide the voices and views of men dominate news coverage. Myanmar is no exception. A new study of 2500 media stories by Myanmar Women’s Journalist Society (MWJS) and IMS-Fojo: “Gender in Myanmar News” shows that female representation in Myanmar media is one of the lowest in Asia.
Download the report here.

“As journalists, we have to challenge gender stereotypes in our reporting. We have to challenge the view that women are victims and that men are survivors. We need to interview and source more female experts, and thereby balance male and female voices in our reporting,” says Ma Zin Mar Lar Htay journalist and co-founder of MWJS.

The study is the first to count female and male sources and analyse gender bias in news in Myanmar. The survey includes radio, TV, online and print. Of these, radio and online media have the lowest representation of female voices each at only 12 percent. The most gender-balanced news medium is TV, where female voices represent 22 percent in news coverage. In print news media, women’s voices only account for 16 per cent.

When women are sources or subjects in the news, women are more likely to be quoted in relation to a personal experience they recount rather than as experts.

“Media is a tool to enhance gender equality and the survey illustrates that there is room for improvement in how news media portray men and women. Only 0.8 per cent of stories from our media study challenge gender stereotypes and only 6 per cent are considered to have gender awareness,” says Ellie Swindon, Gender advisor at IMS-Fojo, and adds:

“Chief editors and media house owners should encourage guidelines that help to ensure that men and women’s voices are given equal space in media.”

MM GRML 13 nyPhoto: Chris PekenRegional differences
Besides differences in how women are represented on different media platforms from radio to TV, online and print, there are also vast differences across regions. In Chin state, only three per cent of the voices represented in media belonged to women, whereas in Sagaing media the share was 22 percent. Yangon-based and national media lie somewhere in between. Female voices in the news are most common in Pao language (33 %) media and least common in Tedim language media (0 %).

IMS/Fojo and partners in the media environment in Myanmar will use the data to advocate for a more balanced representation of female and male sources in news.

If you are curious to know how to do gender sensitive reporting, have a look at our website here.

MM GRML 8Photo: Chris PekenAbout the study
The study is the first of its kind in Myanmar that focuses specifically on gender in news content. The study consists of data collection from 42 news outlets, including national and ethnic media houses covering newspapers, radio, online news and TV across Myanmar. The study uses a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods, and is published as a website.

The study is a pilot, with a view to being replicated and repeated each year, as a way of tracking media’s progress on this issue. The aim is to see Myanmar participate in the next ‘Global Media Monitoring Project’ (GMMP) in 2020, which is a worldwide media monitoring, research and advocacy project implemented collaboratively with women’s rights organisations and researchers across the world.

The study is funded by International Media Support and Fojo Media Institute through their joint programme in Myanmar financed by SIDA and is the second publication on gender and media. Read the first report here.
For more information, please contact Ellie Swindon, Gender Advisor, IMS-Fojo, Den här e-postadressen skyddas mot spambots. Du måste tillåta JavaScript för att se den., phone: 09767155099 or Head of PR and Communication Team (MWJS), Zin Mar Lar Htay @Green, Den här e-postadressen skyddas mot spambots. Du måste tillåta JavaScript för att se den., phone: 09 4210 11119
International Media Support and Fojo Media Institute are working to support Myanmar media partners in their efforts to develop independent and accountable media as a driver of positive social and political change.

Fojo on Twitter

Fojo International

RT @SweMFA: Sweden will provide an additional USD 120 million over the next five years to support gender equality and women’s and girls’ fu…

by Fojo International

Fojo on Facebook

Phone: +46 (0) 480 44 64 00 Address: Linnéuniversitetet, fojo, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden Visiting Address: Gröndalsvägen 19, 392 36 Kalmar, Sweden Email: