BANGLADESH: Unfair treatment discourages women in journalism

Women journalists tell workshop

The Daily Star
Friday, December 19, 2003

Recognition of their works and better wages are needed to encourage female journalists to stay in the profession, experts told a workshop on "Women in Bangladesh Media" here yesterday.

They said women's participation in journalism, including electronic and print media, marked a rise in last couple of years but most of them give up the profession for various problems.

A good number of women journalists shared their experiences in the workshop, organised by News Network and sponsored by Diakona, at CIRDAP auditorium.

Prof Dr Gitiara Nasreen of Dhaka University's Mass Communication and Journalism Department presented the keynote paper in the workshop.

Swedish Ambassador in Dhaka Borje Mattsson, Country Representative of Diakonia-Bangladesh Sultana Begum, International President of Commonwealth Journalists' Association Hassan Shahriar, Editor of News Network Shahiduzzaman, Nadim Quader of AFP and Shamsuddin Ahmmad of UNICEF also spoke on the occasion.

The women journalists identified stereotyped attitudes, unfair treatment, harassment by male colleagues and job insecurity as the other reasons that prompt them to give up the profession. Only better wages and recognition of their works can succeed other problems, they felt.

Jannath Ara Keka of Manabzamin, Farida Yasmin of Daily Ittefaq, Novera Dipita of the Daily Star and Monsura Hossain took part in the open discussion. AP Bureau Chief Farid Hossain moderated the session.

In her keynote paper, Dr Gitiara Nasreen pointed out that despite the rise in number of women journalists in last few years, only four per cent women sustain in the main stream of journalism.

Dr Gitiara Nasreen said socio-cultural factors play an important role in advancing or hindering women's access to journalism. "Discrimination against women works more subtly through the effects of sex-related beliefs and prejudices," she said.

The Swedish Ambassador, in his speech, laid emphasis on bringing gender balance in the media and said society at large would benefit from a better gender balance.

"In a perfect world men and women would of course be equally present in the media both as reporters, editors and as subjects in articles," he said.