"We have the possibility to push back against what effectively has become a rollback of women's rights," says Anette Young, TV news presenter for French broadcaster France 24, and the host and creator of the 51 Per Cent show.

It is a programme about women who are reshaping the world - with the show title referring to women's representation in the world, a near parity not reflected in the political, corporate and economic spheres.

Speaking on an episode of the Journalism.co.uk podcast, Young reflected on the show which has run for more than a decade.

She looks for "counterintuitive stories" designed to challenge the viewer and would be uncomfortable in various parts of the world. For instance, there was a piece about women's rights in South Korea, a country which is viewed as very technologically and economically advanced, but its ultra-conservative government has "made feminism public enemy number one".

France 24 is a global broadcaster that produces output in four languages: English, French, Arabic and Spanish. The idea was always to replicate a women's show in the other languages.

Young, who was originally a Middle East correspondent, saw the value of the programme for people who would not consider themselves feminists. She knew that stories about women's rights were important but they were not getting the coverage they deserved.

The first episode of the weekly show was broadcast in December 2013 and is still going strong.

Its output also goes onto social media platforms like YouTube where it finds a broader audience. African men, for instance, specifically from West African former French colonies, have found themselves tuning in to major gender-focused topics like the #MeToo movement, the gender pay gap, domestic violence or reproductive rights.

Young called on fellow major broadcasters in the UK and the US to step up their efforts to cover these stories, as reporting on gender equality is challenging due to a global shift to the right.

The Financial Times recently published a study showing that young men are becoming more conservative while young women are becoming more progressive. The difference in political ideology among young people in the UK is 25 points; the gap is twice as big (roughly 50 points) in South Korea.

These attitudes are extended into the online space, where misogyny and sexism are given a platform, facilitating harassment and abuse of women. Women journalists know this very well - The Chilling a research paper by UNESCO and the International Centre for Journalists revealed in 2022, that one in five women journalists internationally experienced offline harm connected to online threats, abuse and harassment.

Young has been on the receiving end of abuse herself and stopped reading the YouTube comments long ago. She advised anyone planning to launch a similar initiative to anticipate backlash and put steps in place to protect themselves and their colleagues.

For example, as the war in Gaza continues, Young invited two women peace activists from Palestine and Israel onto the show. Online audiences inevitably took to the comment section to voice their disapproval. But newsrooms cannot be deterred from trying to host these types of conversations, she says.

Sustaining an initiative does require someone with a burning passion to keep it going, but that puts the onus on self-preservation strategies to combat burnout. Young took a six-month break at one point just to switch off from work. But good colleagues and managers count for a lot when journalists need to deal with long hours and high stress.

It pays to celebrate the wins, too. Bottle the highs, because they are a rare opportunity to remind your team about the purpose and mission that you initially started with.

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