Often, there is a perception that women who have never been engaged in politics and decision-making do not have enough potential and skills to be part of this sphere. The media is one of the key actors that has shaped and reinforced this model.

"According to a recent UNDP study, in 2023, 69% of the world's population still think that men make better political leaders than women, and only 27% believe that it is essential for democracy that women have the same rights as men" - this is the current mindset and without changing this mindset, progress for empowering the role of women will be even more difficult to achieve for many years", stated the media expert Mrs. Valbona Sulce, during the training with current affairs and political journalists in Tirana.

With the support of UN Women Albania, Together for Life Association organized today the fourth training with journalists, with the aim of increasing capacities in the field of gender equality, with a special focus on gender reporting during elections and the role of the media in their empowerment and participation in politics and decision making.

The first part of the training covered the topic of legislation and the rights of women in politics according to national and international standards, based on the EU's approach to gender equality. On the other hand, an important focus was also placed on the discussion on Albania's approach in terms of legislation on gender equality and the factors that influence the degree of women's participation in politics. "Journalists and the media should take into account the preliminary assessment and analysis of needs, perceptions and the gap related to gender equality, before drafting and publishing media products" - stated Mrs. Alma Lahe, legal expert.

Why is gender-sensitive journalism and reporting so crucially important? This was the axis on which the second part of the training was oriented. Often the fact that in the media we see more male figures as experts or invited to panel discussions on important issues, the justification of male abusers, as well as the sexist objectification and stereotyping of women's figures (related to the figure of mother, wife, family, etc), it influences us to maintain the perception that women are not capable of decision-making roles and are not good political leaders.

Even women themselves have been induced with the stereotypes "A successful woman is a good mother who takes care of the children and the family" or "If a woman appears to be successful, she has probably benefited from the favors of a leading man" and consequently they do not express themselves due to the influence of external opinion. "Women sometimes step back. Although now things have changed and women are freer to express themselves, I often encounter a problem with the female characters I interview, who provide the interview and then do not feel ready to publish it because they are afraid of judgment and opinion from the community they live in." - said one of the participating journalists.

One of the major problems is also related to intentional gender disinformation and misinformation or due to the lack of proper qualification of journalists and the lack of ethics and gender sensitivity in reporting. "Many journalists have no experience and are not trained by employers. While they come out and report live on sensitive issues. To avoid these problems, journalists must be trained from the beginning." - said one of the journalists present.

On the other hand, many of the Medias do not follow the audiovisual media law and do not practice gender-based reporting, targeting women in order to silence them, as well as presenting tabloid-style headlines as a bait to capture a high audience. This can cause major damages.

Interactive discussions, sharing of examples and practices of the wrong use of unethical and sexist language in reporting in Albania and in the worldwide, as well as the sharing of good practices of gender-based journalism, encouraged the participants to reflect on the role of the media in promoting positive images and active participation of girls/women in social and political fields.

At the end of the training, the journalists appreciated the importance of the topics covered during the training and expressed that they feel more encouraged to be more responsible in reporting during their daily work.