Sunday, August 10, 2008

Women journalists

Going into newsrooms here has been like visiting my son's dorms -- all young men. Only 6 percent of the journalists in Bangladesh (and there are about 800) are women, none of the bosses are women. This is a Muslim country and traditional, two systems in which women don't advance quickly. There is also pressure on women to tend to family duties first and to avoid the kind of culturally inappropriate behavior that journalism demands everyday, eg, ask strangers personal questions. Women journalists also report being harassed and intimidated by people who don't like the story they are doing or publicity in general.

Newsroom gender is changing, of course. One ex-reporter told me today that there are too many females in newsrooms. He was talking mostly about TV which has recruited a lot of women in recent years.

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