Crafting your messages

Your public speaking engagements and the messages you convey are important because they reflect your organization’s commitment to gender equality. Regardless of the topic of your project, it is important to speak about the role women play and to recognize that women and men may experience the issue differently. Make sure not to reinforce stereotypes about what women and men can and should do, and always communicate that women and men have equal rights and should have access to the same opportunities and advantages.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How do my messages reflect my organization’s commitment to gender equality?
  • Do I have specific messages on the gender dimensions of my project theme?
  • Do my messages reinforce stereotypes about women and men’s roles?

Choosing the right images

Both women and men should appear in your communication materials. Give preference to images of women leaders in active (not passive) situations. A picture is worth a thousand words! Use pictures to show that both women and men make a positive and essential contribution to development.

Using the right words

Your choice of words is important. Give equal visibility to women and men in your texts and never use the masculine form to refer to both women and men. This is particularly important when it comes to writing in French. The Association québécoise des organismes de cooperation internationale (AQOCI) produced a Guide to writing with non-sexist language to help its members reflect their commitment to gender equality in their written communications in French.

Choosing your media outlets and promotional materials

Women and men don’t always read the same newspapers and magazines, listen to the same radio, watch the same TV shows or have the same access to new technologies. Choose your media outlets according to the audience you are trying to reach and remember that your choice of media may have a greater impact on men or on women.

Choosing your spokespeople

Make sure you invite both men and women to be the public face of your public engagement initiative as spokespeople, panelists, facilitators, etc.

Choosing the journalists you work with

Invite both men and women journalists to cover your activities. Women journalists will not necessarily cover the issue in the same way as their male colleagues. If you train journalists at the outset of the project, make sure to provide them with sex-disaggregated data so they understand that women and men experience the issue differently and that specific work is needed to addresses gender inequalities.

Further resources