Monday, August 31, 2015

Does Media Define Gender Roles?

by Debbi Dachinger

In an attempt to simplify the complicated nature of men and women, society has allowed media to define and otherwise perpetuate gender stereotypes that dumb down the human experience. And, in its attempt to elevate one gender, denigrate the other. From books and magazines to television programs to radio and films to video games and online communities, media drives our understanding of gender. As a woman, still in a predominantly men-make-more money based society, I am hyper aware of the influence media can have on us all.

By presenting us with images and voices of women, men, and relationships, media advances the ideals of what is desirable in women and men. These ideals are, at best, suffocating stereotypes because they present society with how men and women-and children-are "supposed" to be. But there are small victories that suggest some of us have had enough of the status quo.

There will always be a fraction of people who refuse to act as equal partners in any relationship and/or work-life situation. However, I hold out hope that those of us who value the men and women-and children-in our lives can unite in our efforts to champion a realistic depiction of gender roles.

According to the first step in effecting lasting change is to start the conversation. Nurture your voice. Speak out if you notice media's portrayal of men being incapable of being equal partners with the women in their lives.

In March 2015, at the United Nations on this subject, came this: "In moving forward on the post-2015 goals, advancing gender equality was as much a political as a personal agenda, said the conversation's moderator, Noelene Nabulivou, speaking on behalf of Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA), the Executive Committee of Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Advisory Group.  Achieving gender equality and empowerment required stretching and breaking gender stereotypes, including for women, lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender people, she said."

What makes effective for positive gender roles is its support in the numbers of men and women hosts. In addition it is a woman owned and operated which  has no bias on age. You will find younger hosts, middle aged, as well as, older hosts who offer tremendous wisdom and education to all.  Sharing your wisdom is also encouraged  on When you are listening to your favorite radio programs on Radio (  and you're invited as a listener to call in and ask a question or voice your opinion, please feel free to do so. Radio can influence equality? For starters, the presence of women on the radio, television and in print is more likely to provide positive role models for women and girls. It also enables women to gain the confidence as sources of interviews. You will also find that HRN ( Radio Network) has an extensive by veteran women media professionals. In addition, conscious efforts are made to portray women and men in non-stereotypical situations.  

Even today a very small percentage of women occupy leadership positions in traditional radio networks. HRN proves that excellence is not limited by gender. The media does have an important role in shaping society. Support HRN as it helps shape our society and world in positive leadership for all.

Debbi Dachinger hosts Dare to Dream  at WED, 11 AM PT

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