Media Monitor for Women Network is an NGO based in Beijing.
In September 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing. Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the conference lists “Women and Media” as one of the 12 critical areas of concern and puts forward “Encourage the establishment of media watch groups that can monitor the media and consult with the media to ensure that women's needs and concerns are properly reflected.” In March 1996, a group of women journalists and researchers sponsored to set up Media Monitor for Women Network. It is the first action-oriented folk group focused on media and gender in Mainland China. Being a subordinate body to the Capital Women Journalists’ Association, it operates quite independently.
Media Monitor for Women Network aims to promote gender equality in media and women’s communication rights. It adheres to rectifying the discriminating and disparaging attitude towards women as well gender stereotypes, so as to increase the visibility of women and gender issues in media and communication, to enable more women to access to media and communication to express their thoughts and ideas and to improve female journalists’ status in media and communication agencies.
The working tactics of Media Monitor for Women Network mainly include research, training, advocacy, writing, media liaison, production of alternative media and resource development.
- Research: focusing on monitoring mass media’s reports on women/gender issues;
- Training: conducting training in gender for journalists;
- Advocacy: organizing public activities, issuing monitoring reports or advertising outstanding journalists and agencies;
- Writing: criticizing from gender perspective on media reports and trends of media industry;
- Media liaison: planning and organizing journalists to report actions of women NGOs;
- Alternative media production: issuing e-publications of original comments on current events;
- Resource development: compiling domestic and oversees information related to actions for media advocacy.
All leaders and key members of Media Monitor for Women Network are female with background of working in media or doing media research. Apart from their expertise in media and gender area, they are widely involved in other non-governmental actions related to women’s rights and gender equality. They have played important roles in many NGOs and have wide connection with journalism communication circles as well as journalists.
In 1990s, Media Monitor for Women Network and its members conducted monitoring and criticism on mass media’s reports on women/gender issues and sponsored many times of actions for advocacy.
From 2000 to 2006, Media Monitor for Women Network carried out an awareness raising project to combat domestic violence through mass media. It involved in the early actions in Mainland China to promote the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, established journalists network for reporting domestic violence, organized several workshops and training sessions for journalists, assisted in developing public service advertisement of combating domestic violence, and worked out the first code of reporting on gender issues in Mainland China. Combating domestic violence and combating violence against women has been one of its most concerned issues.
In 2003, Media Monitor for Women Network sponsored to set up the writing team of “Media Watch” and supported the production of the first daily column of gender critics in Mainland China.
In 2007, Media Monitor for Women Network organized the activity of “Experts Recommendation of Media Promoting Gender Equality,” which is the first public activity to promote mass media’s concern on media that focuses on gender issues in the form of recognition event. In the same year, it accomplished a series of research projects, including research on female television programs, research on the images of men and women in television advertisements, analysis of mass media’s reports on violence against women and gender analysis on communication policy.
Media Monitor for Women Network has actively participated in worldwide studies and responded to global issues. In 2000, 2005 and 2010, it took charge of the coordinating of GMMP’s China region. During Beijing + 5 and Beijing +10, it initiated relevant publicities in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Its periodical comment on China’ progress in the area of “Media and Gender” of Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women was included in the Chinese NGOs’ appraisal report.
In 2009, Media Monitor for Women Network initiated the feminist e-paper Women’s Voice, which comments and analyzes current events related to women’s rights and gender equality, follows up and responds to the mass media’ reports on women/gender issues, reports women NGOs’ actions, introduces translations of information on international women’s movement. This e-paper is especially well-known for its rich information, special and critical gender perspectives.
Media Monitor for Women Network made its first appearance in social networks in 2010, followed by its official Sina Weibo account renamed as “Feminist Voices” in April, 2011. With its stand in feminism, perspective from civil society and action–oriented work, the account has remained one of the most active accounts on feminism, and has facilitated as well as supported online awareness raising activities with influence.
In July, 2011, Media Monitor for Women Network supported the opening of Yiyuangongshe as a civil activity center, and has held a variety of gender/feminism themed activities here ever since, including lectures, seminars, training courses, book club activities, group activities. This public space serves as an important platform for potential activists in Beijing, especially the young generation to know about feminism as well as forming friendships with people of a similar mindset.
Since 2012, Media Monitor for Women Network facilitated and supported a great number of influential public advocacy activities on women’s rights, which accounts for part of the achievements of “the Young Feminist Activists” in mainland China. It initiated close contact with these activists, and has provided them with the support of communication and training.
In September 2012, “Vagina Monologue” Beijing Version, from a theatre group set up by Media Monitor for Women Network and Yiyuangongshe. It later developed into an independent feminist volunteer group, writing and acting on “Our Vagina, Ourselves”, a play on women’s sexual rights and anti gender-based violence, as well as carrying out innovative street advocating activities.
Since August 2012, Media Monitor for Women Network established “Domestic Worker Communication” project, in the aim of exploring the voicing of marginalized women in new media. In 2013, the WeChat public account “Feminist Voices” went into operation. In December 2013, Media Monitor for Women Network set up “FeminisTV” together with Leimin Studio, in the attempt of providing regular perspectives on current affairs with short online videos.
Currently Media Monitor for Women Network owns the following websites and media accounts: www.genderwatch.cn, www.china-gad.org (understaker), “Feminist Voices” Sina Weibo, “Fight back Equality to Grrls” Sina Weibo, “All About Domestic Workers” Sina Weibo, “Feminist Voices” WeChat public account, Gender Watch E-monthly, FeminisTV, and exclusive accounts at websites including Youku, Yeeyan and Douban.
Through the communication platforms above, Media Monitor for Women Network is currently the most accomplished new media operator in women/gender domain in mainland China. Over dozens of lectures, training courses and workshops every year help develop new blood for civil women movement, marked by the raise of awareness in potential groups, particularly the young generation in mainland China. In 2012 and 2013, Media Monitor for Women Network facilitated and supported about 30 advocacy activities on anti gender-based violence and gender discrimination, which raised wide attention and are propelling the amendment of certain policies. The work by Media Monitor for Women Network and its partners can be seen in many women’s rights events or discussion under spotlight.
Media Monitor for Women Network also provides capacity building in communication and advocacy for other NGOs. Meanwhile, it will constantly sum up their experience in feminism communication and advocacy as well as social movement. Currently, it still has focus on media and gender monitor work, and will disseminate the results when ready.
Organizations provided financial support: Ford Foundation, UNFEM China Office, Oxfam Hong Kong and so on.
International organizations with project cooperation: The World Association for Christian Communication（WACC）, IPS Asia.
Domestic organizations with project cooperation: China Women’s News, Chinese Women’s Research Society, Anti-Domestic Violence Network of China Law Society (ADVN) and Gender and Development Network (GAD).
Media Monitor for Women Network is a member of Anti-Domestic Violence Network and Gender and Development Network respectively. It was elected as one of the members of GAD’s Coordinate Group.
Media Monitor for Women Network keeps extensive good relationship with women NGOs, gender research agencies as well as relevant actors and researchers.