Spotlight on Gender-sensitive Reporting in Journalism

The joint ILO-UN Women Safe and Fair Programme, as part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, will host a webinar to discuss and share good practices for responsible and ethical reporting of labour migration and gender-based violence and discrimination against migrant workers among media professionals. Safe and Fair will also launch the Media-friendly glossary on migration: Women migrant workers and ending violence against women edition. The glossary serves a guide for journalists, reporters, researchers and trainers who conduct trainings or write about women’s labour migration, and who write about violence against women in the context of migration.


Representation of women migrant workers are often subject to prevailing systems of knowledge production, which are tied to gender norms (Mohanty, 2008). Many times, women migrant workers are depicted by an array of terms and categorizations such as care worker, helper, illegal, criminal, victim, hero, etc., which pertain to their gender, race, nationality and immigration status.

Often, the languages and words we use reflect the social norms and gendered norms reinforcing the stereotypes associated with such women. The representation of women migrant workers can contribute to understanding and perceptions surrounding women migrant workers within societies, which not only inform public opinion but also shape knowledge and attitudes. These perceptions might also influence countries policies and the provision of rights, protections and services to these largely stereotyped groups. For example, words such as “maid” or “servant” are often used to describe “domestic workers” which provides a false sense of the domestic worker to be subordinate and does not recognize that domestic work is a type of employment with corresponding labour rights. Despite the ongoing use of negatively connoted languages, such subtleness is often overlooked and easily neglected as a topic to be discussed.

If these ongoing harmful practices are not addressed, dehumanizing words like “criminal” and “illegal migrant” can condone negative attitudes, discrimination and even violence against migrant workers, especially women. It can also detrimentally affect policies on labour migration, including those affecting women migrant workers the most, such as policies on domestic work (ILO and UN Women, 2019). Therefore, word choices can actively contribute to shaping positive perceptions and better understanding of women migrant workers.

Topics of discussion

Time Topic
14.30 Welcome participants and introduction to the webinar
14.50 Session 1: Situation of women migrant workers with specific focus on the ASEAN region
15.10 Session 2: Role of Journalists in portrayal of women and women migrant workers
  •  The evolving terminology of language on women in labour migration
  •  Representation of women in media and gender stereotypes
16.05 Session 3: Launch of Safe and Fair Media-friendly Glossary on migration
16.35 Closing

The webinar will be conducted in English.

Participants who complete the webinar will receive a certificate of attendance.


Journalists, researchers, trainers and other stakeholders who conduct trainings or write about women’s labour migration, and who write about violence against women in the context of migration are invited.

Click here to register

For more information, please contact:

Mr Pichit Phromkade
Communications Officer for Safe and Fair Programme