BIRD Directory: Bridging the Gender Gap in Balkans

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BIRD Directory: Bridging the Gender Gap in Balkans

Women remain underrepresented in the media in the Balkans, confirming the gender imbalance and showing different forms of women’s invisibility. This has been confirmed by media analysis and gender research conducted within the Media for All project.

Gender inequality is present in workplace decision-making and content production. Usage of gender-sensitive language is weak in the media, and roles of women are often stereotypical, mostly portrayed within the domestic domain, education, environment or healthcare.

While thinking about what could be done to encourage the production of quality, ethical, gender-sensitive content that will challenge prevailing stereotypes, counter patriarchal narratives and misinformation, and support the equal inclusion of women and men experts, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) came up with the idea of an online directory.

BIRN Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD) Directory has been developed with support of the three-year Media for All programme, implemented by the British Council, BIRN, Intrac and Thomson Foundation and funded by the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

How does the Directory bridge the gender gap?


Media for All activities support the promotion and development of gender equality in the Balkans. The programme recognizes networking and development of opportunities for women in media across the region as crucial in transforming a patriarchy-oriented environment.

With the BIRD directory, BIRN has unified the network of women and male experts in one place.

The directory is a database of experts in different fields from six Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. 

Finding an expert in media, law, economy, or criminology from the Balkans has never been easier. The database can be filtered using different criteria, including the field of expertise, country of residence, or gender.

What does the database offer? 

An important component of the database is that it was designed to make women experts’ contacts available to the professional media and the research community.

The database currently has more than 1,400 names and contacts from 57 fields of expertise, such as human rights, sports, art, IT, politics, security and international relations, 500 of whom are women.

From journalists to advisors, activists and academics, women in the BIRD directory represent a powerful and valuable network of knowledge, skills and professionalism.

Furthermore, the database is a growing community, regularly updated with new contacts and references.

How to take part in the community?


 BIRD directory is part of the BIRD community, a platform developed by BIRN and available to its registered members. BIRD community is a secure place where journalists and alumni can meet colleagues from six Balkan countries to interact, exchange ideas, data and information, and collaborate on existing projects, or start new ones.

The idea for the community reflects more than 15 years of BIRN’s experience in connecting journalists across the Balkans and beyond to produce complex regional analyses and cross-border investigations.

A couple of features on the platform offer a unique way of connecting with a community of experts: BIRD Source database, Forum, Bulletin Board, and finally, the Directory. BIRD Directory is the first reference for BIRD Community members.

If you are looking for an expert or a credible source of information on a different topic, consider equal recognition of men and women professionals, BIRD Directory may be your starting point.

If you wish to access the BIRD Directory and find an expert, register in the BIRD community by following this link.

If you would like to propose new entries and contacts to be added to the Directory, send us your proposal at [email protected].

Twelve teams of three young journalists from at least two different countries from the Western Balkans worked over the course of eight weeks, with the support of experienced mentors, to produce regional stories focused on youth. This story was developed through the Media for All programme funded by the UK Government. The content gathered and views expressed are the sole responsibility of the authors.

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