Government Policy

Number of women in journalist leadership growing

By Mahmudul Hasan

DHAKA, Dec 28, 2016 (BSS) - More and more women are joining journalism as country's media sector is flourishing and number of women in journalist leadership is also gradually growing.

"My journey in journalism was not really a bed of roses. I did not get much support from my family when I joined the profession. Recognition from the society too was not there. As only joining the profession was so much tough for me, you can imagine my struggle of becoming a leader in the community," Ayesha Khanam, not the real name, told BSS while talking about her journey in the profession.

Being a small-town girl, it was really a huge struggle for Ayesha to establish herself in journalism which was still a taboo for women in the early 80's. She started her journey through contributing in a daily at its editorial section. Even when she finally took journalism as her profession, she was told to do editing instead of her first choice reporting.

"It was a big no from my office as I pleaded to assign me as a reporter.

Though it took me a long time, but I ultimately joined reporting. I used to maintain contact with union (journalist) leaders secretly. I had a strong desire to become a journalist leader and that is why I used to take part in different programmes. Now when I look back to my struggling days, I really feel proud," she added.

Ayesha big break in journalist leadership was getting elected as a

member of executive committee of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) in the 80's. She is still very much active in journalist leadership.

But in comparison to their male counterparts, number of women in

journalism is still very low. Of around 2,800 members of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), only 119 are women. Of around 1,500 members of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), women are only 104.

Of around 200 media houses listed in the telephone guide published by Ministry of Information, only six have women as their editors. Even they have become editor as an owner not by profession.

Of the 25 TV channels in the country, only one has a woman chief

executive officer and two have women head of news.

But in spite of the data, there is no denying that presence of women in media has increased by manifolds in the last ten years. Crossing the boundary of traditional media like newspaper, television and radio channels, women are leaving mark in new medias like fm radio, community radio and online media.

Even women journalists are becoming more and more interested in

realizing their colleagues' rights and rights of their own by leading the community. Present president of Dhaka Sub-Editors Council is a woman. There are number of women in the leadership of different journalist bodies like BFUJ, DUJ, DRU and Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh (DCAB).

"Position of women in all the departments in media is very strong now.

Many of them are doing exceptionally well in the profession. If they think they would like to lead different journalist bodies, work for realizing demands of the community, I would like welcome them and extend my cooperation for them. I believe they will become successful in the journalist unions," said BFUJ president Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul.

Nari Sangbadik Kendra president Nasimun Ara Haque Minu said, women are gradually getting interested in taking journalism as their profession.

"We as an organization fighting a battle to take the women journalists in policymaking level in the media. I would like to urge concerned people to appoint at least 30 percent women in different departments of journalism.

Journalist unions are very much positive in bringing the women in leadership and we the women have to become interested in leading the community from front," she added.

The senior journalist was sounding very hopeful about the future of women in journalist leadership, saying, Bangladesh is doing miracle in women empowerment recently and the future of women is only looking brighter with passing of time.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)