PUP, PCS partner for conference on gender and the media

, News, Communication Management Office

The Philippines Communications Society (PCS), in partnership with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Philippine Press Institute, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, UP CMC Foundation Incorporated, and Philippine Information Agency held its annual conference on April 30, 2018 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) with the theme “Constructing Gender in Multimedia Contexts”. 

Issues tackled and revolved around gender and its connection to the media, with some of the researches in the PCS Review 2017: Gender and The Media journal presented to the conference.

One of the highlights of the program was the conferring of the Excellence in Communication Award to University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Emeritus Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso.

This year’s award, only the third given since 2011, was due to Dr. Alfonso’s illustrious career as a painter, sculptor, educator, and a filmmaker, researcher and film critic. 

“Today, we honor a master of visual communication,” PPI executive director and former PCS president Ariel Hans Sebellino said.

Dr. Alfonso, in her keynote speech, said that the award has an overwhelming feeling. “These [words of gratitude] goes to the many women and men I’ve worked with”.

In the rest of her speech, Dr. Alfonso pointed out that the media plays an important role as it “constructs realities”. She also dealt with the role of new technologies, such as the Internet, in helping to push through knowledge-building and lifelong learning, and in effect, values such as gender equality. 
“There is a call for us, in media, to maximize the affordances of the Web… It goes beyond boundaries of institutions and nations, it is a way of life,” Dr. Alfonso said.

Saying that discrimination on gender is evident on all spaces such as at home or in the workplace, Dr. Alfonso challenged the participants to “claim spaces” especially for women and marginalized people. “What’s most important is to be open with our involvement with open learning. We have to participate in making well-researched works by feminist scholars to enable them to claim their spaces in the virtual world,” she concluded.

Afterwards, the first plenary session showcased three researches that were published in the 2017 PCS Journal.

The first study, “Complementarity in Movement and Performance: Critiquing Gender Roles in Philippine Cultural Dances” by Cheeno Mario Sayuno, tackled perceived roles by male and female dancers in four Philippine folk dances.
The second study, “Iconic Performance and the Media: The Case of Kris Aquino” by Mae Caralde, chronicled the presidential daughter’s rise to a media icon, a formidable political endorser and the manifestation of the “Aquino magic”. 

The final study, “The Concept of Forever: Women in Long-Distance Relationships with Seafarers” by Thea Pamela Javier, gauged the women’s thoughts about the “permanence of relationships” with a partner engaged in a job internationally.

In the second plenary session, the researches that were presented talked about the institutionalization of gender discourse to both students and media practitioners.
Juelienne Baldo-Cubelo’s “Presence of Gender in the Curriculum/Syllabi of Communication Media Courses in HEIs” showed that the job is far from over in entrenching gender discourse in what educators teach to future media practitioners. 

The final research, “Assessment of Gender-inclusive Codes and Guidelines of Media” by Ma. Diosa Labiste, analyzed how far the media integrated gender in the workplace and even in content-making. “Gender is not an easy issue to deal with the newsrooms. Newsrooms are still very much the domain of men,” Labiste opined. “They might open up to women, but only after a struggle,” she added.

“We have to approach gender in the media in an open manner, not in a regulative perspective,” Labiste concluded.

The forum was made possible in collaboration with the Philippine Information Agency, Philippine Press Institute, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, UP CMC Foundation Inc., Philippine Social Science Council and Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Communication Management Office; and also with the support of Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, McDonald’s and Manila Water.

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