Claims involving equality between women and men in all areas of life are best advanced in the public sphere, where they are subject to information and debate, allowing women and men to consider their importance, thus contributing to legitimize the political decisions that involve them.
If we accept that a healthy democracy requires informed citizens and an active public sphere, we have to take into account that among the institutions that contribute to the formation of the public sphere, the media possibly have the most fundamental role. They are their central institutions and must be approached as key elements in the social construction of political public opinion, fulfilling a very relevant role in the democratization of collective life in general. They can, therefore, play a key role in the promotion of equality between men and women.
As one of the main agents of the public sphere, media, however, do not simply convey the issues and claims put forward by the other actors of collective life. Rather, they speak in their own voice, clearly influencing the public agenda. On the other hand, media’s dystopic logics – as often seen in their discursive and image constructions of women and gender inequalities, in their power to render visible and invisible certain people and issues, and in their ability to enact unequal interactions – have become areas of concern that need to be researched.
One of the CIMJ’ research projects – “Gender and news production: a gender analysis of news organizations and production “, funded by FCT and carried out in 2013-2015 – questioned how gender affects not only journalists themselves, but their experiences, understandings and commitments that shape daily news production. During the Pre-conference some results of that research will be presented and there will also be the opportunity to listen to international speakers with recognized work in this field. Other research, conducted by researchers of different nationalities who wish to share it with the scientific community in this area will also be presented. The Pre-Conference of Portuguese Society of Communication thus seeks to establish itself as a critical space to consider these and other issues involving the mediation of gender issues.