#InvestInWomen through Gender Transformative Communication (GTC)

Words and images have the power to shape our world. Learn how GTC is an essential investment in women's empowerment.

Gender inequity is a subtle but pervasive issue that affects various aspects of life, from employment opportunities to how programs are designed and marketed. It is often so ingrained in our daily experiences that it goes unnoticed or unchallenged.

In the Philippines, despite being ranked as one of the top 20 countries globally for gender equality (according to the Global Gender Gap Report), the country still confronts deep-rooted gender biases that pervade various aspects of life. For instance, traditional societal expectations continue to place the bulk of domestic and caregiving responsibilities on women, limiting their opportunities for career advancement and personal development. Additionally, in rural areas, women's access to land and resources often remains secondary to men, affecting their economic independence and status.

Recognizing this, it becomes imperative to invest strategically in initiatives that directly empower women and challenge societal norms. This is where Gender Transformative Communication (GTC) steps in. GTC is a powerful tool that can help organizations committed to making a difference to enhance their impact.  It encourages organizations to scrutinize their own practices and policies, ensuring they contribute positively to gender equity. Whether it's in advertising campaigns, internal communications, or public outreach programs, every message can be a step towards challenging entrenched gender norms and promoting a more inclusive world view.

Through careful use of images, language, and evidence, GTC challenges gender-based discrimination and power imbalances, sparking real change in behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. The goal is to move beyond mere acknowledgment of gender differences towards a genuine transformation in how gender is perceived and acted upon.

Take for instance the image of childcare facilities. More often than not, this is portrayed as being located at a woman's workplace, reinforcing the stereotype of women as primary caregivers. Now, flip that image – choose to portray childcare services at a man's workplace. This shift in representation leads the viewer towards the question of whether care work should be an accepted responsibility of men. It also begs the question - why is it unusual or commendable to see men rise to this role of care work? How can such a shift support women’s career growth? Examples like this one demonstrate that a simple change in perspective can lead us to ask new questions and consider different aspects of power and responsibility. By examining who holds power and how that power can be used for change, we gain a clearer understanding of the potential impact of our communications.

GTC Toolkit by FES Regional Gender Justice Project

With this in mind, the FES Regional Gender Justice Project has developed a toolkit that provides a practical framework for applying the GTC approach. It's designed to guide organizations in planning future communications strategies and evaluating existing materials for their level of gender responsiveness.

The toolkit delves deeper into how organizations can use GTC to tailor communicataion strategies to tackle five specific focus areas – politics and democracy, labour rights, social-ecological transformation, future of work, and peace, security, and international cooperation. It discusses the common pitfalls to be avoided and things to keep in mind while implementing GTC related to thes focus areas. It also contains comprehensive checklists to ensure gender responsiveness in communication materials, and further resources to help deepen understanding of the concept.

This tool is not merely about achieving parity; it's about recognizing and amplifying women's unique insights and appraches, which are critical in tackling contemporary challenges. Investing in GTC is akin to investing in a future where the decision-making table is not only shared equally between genders but is also enriched by the diverse perspectives that women bring, leading to more innovative, inclusive, and sustainable solutions.


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