How the 'Ni Una Menos' movement was a watershed in the coverage of gender issues in Argentina

By Márcia Carmo, originally published by MediaTalks

Although some countries have made progress in the inclusion of women in newsrooms and in their coverage of gender issues, as shown by examples highlighted in the special edition Diversity in the Media of the journalism website MediaTalks, few have made as much progress as Argentina.

The reason for this progress was the “Ni Una Menos” movement, which caused a shift in the approach and press coverage of gender issues in the country. The initiative led by a group of journalists emerged in 2015, after a case of femicide of a teenager that shook the country.

In its first public demonstration, it mobilized crowds in 80 Argentinian cities against femicide. The campaign crossed borders and started to be carried out, with the same name, in several Latin American countries.

Gender issues gain space in the Latin American press

In Chile, for example, the movement has the sympathy of former President Michelle Bachelet, who is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico, and many other countries, the movement also draws crowds – of women, men and the LGBTQIA+ community.

At one of the demonstrations in Buenos Aires, I heard from a man in his 40s:

“I am the father of two young daughters and the son of a husband who killed his wife. In other words, my father killed my mother. I am aware that only information and education can fight these horrors. That is why I brought my daughters here.”

Hearing him speak these words with tears in his eyes was heartbreaking. And it confirmed the need for education about machismo, cruelty and the importance of tolerance – one of the many pillars of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) approach.

Clarín, the first news outlet in Argentina to have a gender editor

The daily newspaper Clarín was the first to react to “Ni Una Menos,” by being the first mainstream news medium in Argentina to create the role of gender editor.

Later, other public and private media, in addition to the universities’ media system, followed the same path. On International Women's Day, Clarín published the name and a small profile of each victim of femicide in the country, their causes of death and the legal status of the perpetrator.

According to the civil association Comunicación para la Igualdad [Communication for Equality], there are 11 newspapers that have the role of gender editor in Argentina, as a way to incorporate intersectional gender perspectives in all areas of coverage.

This year, the Network of Gender Editors in Argentina (REG, by its Spanish acronym) was created, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

In an interview with MediaTalks, Argentinian sociologist Marita Carballo said she is optimistic about the increasing presence of “gender editors” in the country’s media, a role occupied by journalists committed to transforming newsrooms and fighting discriminatory, sexist and stereotypical biases.

But she stresses that it takes a lot more to incorporate the “mirada de género” [a gender perspective] in coverage than having a dedicated editor or simply hiring more women and members of social minorities.

Association promotes diversity and inclusion in the Argentinian press

The civil association Comunicación para la Igualdad was created in 2012 in Argentina to raise awareness of the importance of plurality in the media. Its work over the last decade has earned it recognition and support from various civil society organizations, such as UNESCO.

In an interview with MediaTalks, Belén Spinetta, a journalist who is part of the association, thinks that the country has made “great progress” in the last 15 years, but there is still much to be done.

“It is clear that the figure of femicide has taken root in the media. And it is also true that the women's agenda has gained greater visibility from ‘Ni Una Menos,’” Spinetta said.

Spinetta recalled that during this period the first transgender presenter appeared in the media. First on Public TV and then on private TV channel C5N, in addition to other “more popular and alternative” media that already had this agenda.

“What we see is that the growth of the struggle for diversity gives more space to the agenda of women from vulnerable neighborhoods and indigenous women, exposing issues that were not so visible before,” she said.

The association, which advocates “non-sexist” communication, carries out educational activities and research.

One of its most recent research projects found that women represent 64% of people who study social communication in Argentina and 35% of people working in newsrooms.

The group also monitors what Spinetta called “hate speech against feminists on social media.”

In April, the association launched the #JournalismWithDiversity campaign, with support from the NGO World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).

In one of the videos, journalist Nora Bar, 71, who specializes in scientific coverage at the Buenos Aires newspaper La Nación, says that reality “has many faces.”

And that there is still a long way to go before not only gender diversity, but also other groups with diverse demands, such as people with disabilities, are taken into consideration in newsrooms.

In another video, Clarín's gender editor Mariana Iglesias emphasized why the media must be diverse and inclusive of all sectors of society.

“Diversity is important in journalism because it broadens points of view. The ways of living and seeing the world are not homogeneous. If newsrooms do not have this diversity, they will continue to have homogeneous points of view. And we don’t want that anymore,” Iglesias said.

This article is part of MediaTalks’ Diversity in the Media Special Edition. Read the full issue here.