UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) programme was established with the objectives of facilitating preservation, enhancing universal access, and increasing awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of the world’s documentary heritage.
As one of UNESCO’s global priorities, gender equality is required to be integrated across all of the Organization’s programmes, processes and policies through two distinct but complementary approaches: gender mainstreaming; and gender-specific initiatives. Unfortunately, to date, neither of these approaches has been fully reflected in the Memory of the World Programme.
The Gender Equality Baseline Study of Memory of the World in Asia-Pacific reviewed the MoW inscriptions from Asia and the Pacific both on the international and regional registers with a gender lens and assessed the degree of gender sensitivity of the inscribed documentary heritage. As of today there are 426 inscriptions on the international register – including 109 from the Asia-Pacific region – and 56 inscriptions on the regional Asia-Pacific register, among which only four highlight the gender dimension. Only one inscription is recognized as effectively being gender transformative and contributing to the promotion of gender equality.
This lack of a gender equality perspective is clearly visible in the nomination forms and the General Guidelines of the Programme. As a result, the many women who have made remarkable contributions to the history of the world are not being recognized appropriately.
UNESCO encourages all those intending to nominate documentary heritage to a MoW register to read this publication and act on its findings and recommendations in order to record the significant roles that women have played in the world’s history.