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In June 2018, a Knowledge-Exchange programme called Tackling Inequalities in Scotland’s News Media was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The programme included a series of workshops for academics, journalists, editors and representatives from the women’s sector to discuss women’s representation in national and local media in Scotland.

The key collaborators of this programme, including senior academics from Strathclyde University’s School of Humanities, Engender, the Association of Journalism Education, Zero Tolerance, Scottish Women in Sport, Women in Journalism Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid, continued to meet regularly, under the newly launched Gender Equal Media Scotland (GEMS).

The GEMS website became a focal point for research, campaigns and organisations interested in Scottish news which treats women equally – as employees, as contributors and as subjects of media attention. It also hosted a blog, which featured writing on intersectional gender equality, attitudes towards women and representative news media.

Meanwhile the National Advisory Council for Women and Girls recommended that Scotland should have its own Women in Media Body. Engender received funding for a development project to identify what shape this might take.

In 2020, and in partnership with GEMS, the development project reviewed evidence of global initiatives, undertook original, participatory research, and produced a theory of change for increasing equality with Scotland’s media and cultural sectors.

The proposal to Scottish Government to launch an Equal Media and Culture Centre for Scotland was successful, and acknowledges that alongside media, our nation’s creative sectors contribute to our cultural attitudes around equality.

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