News items related to women affairs get a very small space in newspapers but photographs get a lot more prominence than that, a study jointly conducted by Plan International Bangladesh and University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) finds.

Only seven to nine per cent of the news items are about women affairs but the photographs get twice the space, it said.


News items related to women chiefly mean those of crime, abuse or torture, law suits and showbiz.

Plan International Bangladesh and ULAB jointly conducted the study on gender representation in Bangladeshi media and its effect on youths in 2018.

The study was conducted among 804 people aged between 15 and 24 years. Around fifty five per cent of the respondents said they believe what the newspapers publish while around 44 per cent said they believe what is being published online and mobile phones and the rest keep faith on television.

The study finds that photographs about women affairs get 14-18 per cent space of all the photographs. Magazines publish news on arts, cinema, lifestyle and crimes. But news or photographs on women leadership, their success stories, reproductive health and education and other aspects of their life do not get prominence in media, in general.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Bangladesh Nari Sangbadik Kendra (centre for women journalists) president Nasimun Ara Haque said media publish a very small number of positive news on women. "This has to change. Their success as well as challenges need to be highlighted. The media policymakers need to consider this issue with due importance.


Three fourth participants of this survey think media present women as mother and wife only. Even those who are presented as working women are also seen working at home. But the males are presented as father and husband who work as top executives.

The males are presented as politicians and development activists in the community level, which suggest they are the main decision makers, the participants think.

Plan International Bangladesh’s head of influencing Kashfia Feroz said women are being involved in various activities outside but the world is yet to be ready to accept them. Media can play an important role here as it directly influences the public opinion.

* This report, originally published in print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza