Women highly under-represented in Tunisian media (HAICA study)
07/12/2017 18:49, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - Women are highly under-represented in the Tunisian media and their presence does not exceed 11 pc against 89 pc of men, reveals a study entitled "women’s place and representation in television drama" made public, Thursday in Tunis at a conference on the theme: "Place and Image of Women in the Audiovisual Media" organised by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (HAICA).

The study conducted by the HAICA, in collaboration with the Belgian Broadcast Authority (le Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel Belge (CSA)) underlines that "not only Tunisian women are poorly represented, but the image that the media convey of them is rather negative."

The corpus of the study includes 5 open-ended fictions, about 69 hours of programme. The analysied five works of fiction were all broadcast for the 1st time in Ramadan 2015, between June 18 and July 17, “Awled Moufida "and" Hkeyet Tounsia” broadcast by the Al hiwar Ettounsi channel, "laylet Echchak" (Attassia TV), "Errisque" (Hannibal TV) and" Naouret lahwa" (watanya 1).

 On the whole corpus, there were 225 insults, or 3.22 per hour on average, according to Hammami Samira, head of monitoring at HAICA.

 The analysis was based on a comparative, gender-based, four-part approach: The 1st focuses on women's participation in the creation and design of the work. The 2nd draws a sort of comparison of male and female characters (sort of identity card by age group, socio-professional category, etc.).

The 3rd part was devoted to the study of all the elements accompanying the presence of the character in each sequence (appearance dress, enhancement of the body, etc.).

The 4th part on the other hand, defines all stereotypes identified in each episode.

Indeed, the study showed that in the production teams, there is a male predominance in high-tech positions and high-tech jobs in the creation of artistic works (editing, sound engineering, production, etc.) with 100% of men in the profession of sound engineer and 80% in production and editing.

But curiously, according to the study, the feminisation of the screenwriter's job (60% of women) has not played in favour of improving the image of women in the audiovisual sector since it remains under-represented compared to men (63% men against 37% women).

According to the study, the production profession is mainly reserved for men since 80% of Tunisian fiction in 2015 was produced by men.

It appears from the study that the total absence of rural women in the Tunisian fiction and the factor of the age is much more determining in the selection of the male actors than for the female actresses since 12 % of the male characters are perceived in the slice of age between 50 and 64 years against 3% only for women. Intergenerational diversity benefits men much more than women.

 An overrepresentation of women in the situation of widow or divorced (24% of the characters represented in this statute are women against 14% for men).

Women are under-represented in the socio-professional executive and senior management categories with 8% against 16.7% for men.

The problem of unemployment and search for work is exclusively masculine. Thus, in the unemployed category, women are completely absent. Women without activity are systematically perceived as housewives.

Moreover, the study shows a great stereotyping of women's work, in that, 48.85% of the sequences show the female characters at the place of their work taking care of their personal belongings and not exercising activities in relation to their position.

In the soap opera "Awled Moufida," the value of work was not put forward especially for women: The presence of women in the professional space is null and the profession of assistant and secretariat is exclusively the prerogative of female characters.

The stereotypes are numerous, according to the same study because women are represented as demonic, victim, hyper-emotional, materialist, in a position of weakness and in a situation of failure.

The purpose of this study is to raise the awareness of industry professionals and sociologists about the role of the media in the production of values and the construction of the collective imagination of society, according to HAICA President Nouri Lajmi.

He said that the current analysis was based on a number of parametres ranging from the position of women in the actantial model, the survey and analysis of stereotypes and counter-stereotypes, the roles attributed to women, their age or their socio-economic origin.

CSA President underlined the importance to promote women’s representation in the media in order to avoid conveying a negative and stereotyped image of them.

Head of the Council of Europe Office to Tunisia William Massolin reiterated the council's support to Tunisia in promoting gender equality.

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