More equality for a fair and inclusive TV industry

Monday 20 November 2017

Today, women do not enjoy equal rights and treatment in the global TV industry. Women are exposed to discriminatory portrayals and are facing violence and harassment. They are still denied equal pay and lack often the availability of equal career opportunities and the possibility of reconciling work and family life.

This needs to change!

On today’s World Television Day, the global community of media & entertainment unions affiliated to UNI Global Union and its Media & Entertainment Sector, UNI MEI representing television workers in more than 100 countries issue a call for action to all television companies and their national and international associations to step up efforts to combat discrimination, violence and harassment and to take more effective measures to mainstream gender equality in all aspects of making TV programmes and in the workplaces of the industry.

Television is a powerful tool for creating public opinion. The way women are portrayed in television affects the attitudes towards women in our societies. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the portrayal of women in television condemns disrespectful or violent treatment of women. It needs to address the involvement of women in all aspects of life and society in a balanced manner. Awareness raising and training, mainstreaming of a gender-sensitive approach to gender portrayal, positive actions as well as monitoring are necessary tools to make progress and to improve gender portrayal in a meaningful way.

UNI MEI and its affiliates applaud the courage and resolve of so many women across the globe who have denounced perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence. These testimonies have also revealed a widespread culture of impunity and fear for retaliation in the global TV and wider media & entertainment industry. We condemn these acts of harassment, violence and retaliation against women. We urge the TV industry to treat sexual harassment and violence responsibly and seriously and take all necessary measures to end the culture of impunity and of fear of retaliation. We call on TV companies and their national and international associations to work with trade unions in order to develop joint policies and strategic plans that will lead to achieving a safe workplace and that effectively protect women from any forms of harassment and violence.

Despite progress made, gender pay gap remains a significant challenge in the TV industry today. We call on employers to work together with trade unions to do away with this form of discrimination against women. We urge industry to elaborate and implement equal pay action plans, which include proven tools such as gender neutral remuneration systems, salary adaptation mechanisms after return from maternity leave and measures to eliminate segregation. We request that employers engage to negotiate and review specific chapters on equality and equal pay in collective agreements or in separate framework agreements.

Better work-life balance policies are essential to create a sustainable, fair and inclusive environment in TV. Successful policies exist and they need to be tailored to the needs of individual women and men. It is also important to recognize the needs of employers in the TV industry, for example to provide a 24 hour/7 day TV programming. We call on employers to implement and review regularly work-life balance policies through social dialogue responding effectively to changing needs. It is important that such policies do not have adverse effects on the careers of women. Therefore it is vital that equal access to promotion, training and education for career development is guaranteed.

This statement is also available in French and Spanish.

UNI MEI Global Union represents 140 unions & guilds affiliating more than 400 000 creators, technicians and other workers in the media and entertainment industries world-wide. For more information contact: