Empowered women enhancing Journalism: Encounter of a taboo

Author: Eraj Atiq, Program Assistant at Women Media Center, Pakistan and Associate Member at International Research Group on Crisis Communication (IRGoCC), Germany.

Women who are empowered, and able to realize their full potential, are an incredible force in taking whole nations forward, and in contributing to their well-being’ says Mr. Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Minister for International Development.

A woman in journalism was not less than a taboo until past years. When now the new genre; women journalists are emerging making their way along fighting the odds. Earlier globally men dominated the realm of journalism.

The absence of women journalists in corridors of powers and decision-making areas in the industry of media have been bricked by cosmetic representation of women on soft beats.  The attempt of women entering the field was in late 20th.

In 1948 Fatima Begum a worker of Pakistan movement launched an Urdu newspaper “Khatoon” from Lahore. 1948, a daily newspaper Inqilab, began publishing women’s page named as ‘Nisayat’ consisting of women issues. The efforts of struggling women for their prominence reflect in the creation of a new political and cultural environment in the cramped society.  The missing women from the media landscape have begun to be questioned internationally. They have begun to break the culture of silence and limit. Though, this journey demands still much distance to be travelled as the long term goals in this regard are challenging.

Women journalists have outset to work as reporters, editors, web-editors and feature writers in prominent media houses. This generates an enabling environment for the forthcoming women in the field. We see the prominent women figures in journalism who challenged the stereotypes of journalism as award winning journalist Asma Shirazi, who is a senior anchor person at Dawn News, the most determined and passionate Pakistani journalist and an anchor person is a woman, Jasmeen Manzoor, Gharida Farroq is a yet another woman journalist of courage and passion. Reham Khan who has worked with Aaj TV and BBC.

All these and many more influential figures continue to enhance the overlooked part of journalism raising its standards. However the uninviting habitat caused many to quit the profession, failing to encounter issues of harassment, intimidation, being unfairly paid and more.  Women journalists are not only emerging from urban areas but also from most conservative regions of provinces, serving the profession skillfully with their thirst for journalism and sustainable society.

Empowered women have made their presence felt touching the issues that previously remain neglected as of health care, education, health, politics and economy. Their writings and reporting highlighted how gender issues are obstacle in development and prosperity of a nation. They have breakthrough the biased shadow of journalism setting up examples and visionary aspects of women leadership surrounding the globe.

Taking in account the achievements and aiming for more is desired. Advanced trainings and capacity building programs shall be introduced for empowering women providing a platform to boost their knowledge and potential. A responsive forum countering women issues shall further help in providing women a secure environment to work in. Encouraging salaries, friendly work atmosphere can contribute finely in reinforcing women dexterity.

Women lack opportunities to show off their talent, if given chances, they are capable of putting their best foot forward, needless to say rather than presence their absence will be realized in the profession.

No country can ever truly flourish, if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens’, says Michelle Obama.