ABSTRACT. ‘Combating gender stereotypes: The role of education and the media’ was one of the two central themes of a ministerial conference of the Council of Europe (24–25 May 2010, Baku, Azerbaijan). The conference aims to develop cross-European policy directed at gender equality. This talk suggests that any efforts in the field of policy need to take into account that stereotypes are more open and ambiguous than often surmised. Policy development may therefore benefit from longitudinal cross-cultural research that e.g. ‘co-opts’ stereotypes by using them as benchmarks for social openness. Such research could look at representations of both dominant and non-dominant groups (i.e. include men and heterosexuals). Other suggestions made include training for stronger reflective professionalism in the media and creative industries, and the empowerment of non-dominant social groups in the media. A pluralist public sphere benefits from such initiatives and is the mark of a true democracy. pp. 181–187

Keywords: stereotypes, humour, joking, reflective professionalism, empowerment

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