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"The Stories Women Journalists Tell": report on women in media in South Asia

Camerawoman in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Camerawoman in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Demotix/Zakir Hossain Chowdhury

On March 13, 2014, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) launched The Stories Women Journalists Tell, a snapshot on the experience of women journalists in South Asia.

The report is the first created by SAMSN looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region and sheds light on how women are rapidly joining media's ranks in large numbers, yet still bear the brunt of inequality in newsrooms.

"While improvements have been achieved by and for women in journalism, many problems still remain - notwithstanding the disproportionate number of men in decision-making roles within the unions and media organisations," IFJ Asia Pacific director, Jacqui Park, said.

"The IFJ and SAMSN believe the priorities of women jour­nalists must be recognised and addressed. In order for journalists' organisations to improve the conditions for women journalists, they may also have to reform their own structures - to ensure that women are properly represented in the union's governing bodies."

Between February and July 2013, South Asia Media Sol­idarity Network (SAMSN), organised a series of round­tables, "The stories women journalists tell", on gender equity, media rights and safety in Afghanistan, Bangla­desh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The roundtables culminated in the first-ever SAMSN gender networking conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, on July 21, 2013 and the adoption of a statement on gender equity: 'Building Resistance, Organising for Change'.

The report's author, Geeta Seshu, said: "The women we spoke to shared their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Their primary concerns centred on recruitment, work assignments and promotions; the impact of the contract system and growing job insecurity; the need for greater gender sensitivity in the workplace; sexual harassment and safety."

Sadly, the report also documents the horrific attacks and killings of women journalists in the region.

Conducted as part of the SAMSN-IFJ project on gen­der equity, safety and media rights, the roundtables have helped to articulate the pressing issues women journalists face and the dire need to develop a strong network whereby women journalists in South Asia can work together and organize around common causes and concerns.

The Stories Women Journalists Tell is the first stage of this important campaign for women in South Asian media and sets the agenda for women journalists across the region.

Download the report.
south_asia_women_journalists_ifj.pdf (1494 KB)

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