A New World

Women in Bangladesh are grad­u­ally en­ter­ing the me­dia in­dus­try. How­ever, their pro­fes­sional life is filled with dangers at ev­ery step.

Southasia - - Media Women Journalists - By Fara Abrar

With in­creas­ing aware­ness and op­por­tu­nity, Bangladeshi fe­males opt to change the stereo­typ­i­cal think­ing of the so­ci­ety and be­come role mod­els for all those who only dream of do­ing some­thing other than what is as­sumed to be their duty of house­hold chores.

Women in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are be­com­ing con­fi­dent by uti­liz­ing their ed­u­ca­tion, skills and work­ing as equals in the cor­po­rate world. They com­pete at all lev­els and face a myr­iad of chal­lenges on their way to achiev­ing their dreams. Al­though with the amount of fam­ily pres­sure to get mar­ried and the so­ci­ety’s un­ac­cept­abil­ity to stay late out of home, women have, with great dif­fi­culty man­aged to main­tain and as­cend their pro­fes­sional sta­tus in the chal­leng­ing po­si­tions of sales, mar­ket­ing, jour­nal­ism, law, and other de­part­ments.

Bangladesh is one such coun­try in South Asia where women are not en­cour­aged to work and field re­lated jobs are dis­cour­aged. Sim­i­larly, broad­cast and jour­nal­ism are gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Bangladesh, where ter­res­trial chan­nels cover 93% of the Bangladesh’s pop­u­la­tion. Broad­cast me­dia be­ing the pop­u­lar and grow­ing in­dus­try at­tracts stu­dents es­pe­cially fe­males, who choose their pro­fes­sion as jour­nal­ists and re­porters.

With in­creas­ing aware­ness and op­por­tu­nity, Bangladeshi fe­males opt to change the stereo­typ­i­cal think­ing of the so­ci­ety and be­come role mod­els for all those who only dream of do­ing some­thing other than what is as­sumed to be their duty of house­hold chores. Jour­nal­ists and re­porters get to cover dif­fer­ent sto­ries, visit places, ex­plore ideas, and work with dy­namic in­di­vid­u­als. A de­mand­ing pro­fes­sion on its own, jour­nal­ism re­quires de­ter­mi­na­tion and con­fi­dence to sur­vive.

From a fe­male prospec­tive, where, a few years ago, the bar­ri­ers to en­try were high in a male dom­i­nant in­dus­try, the so­ci­ety is now more ac­com­mo­dat­ing of the pre­mier role played by women in me­dia. Bangla- desh, how­ever, still needs to ad­just to women jour­nal­ists work­ing in ar­eas that re­quire thor­ough re­search, out­door in­ter­views, and field re­port­ing.

So­ci­etal norms con­tinue to dom­i­nate the role of the woman in Bangladeshi so­ci­ety. De­spite, the nu­mer­ous feat women have achieved pro­fes­sion­ally, most Bangladeshi in-laws would not be ac­cept their would-be daugh­ter-in-law as a jour­nal­ist or re­porter. The con­ser­va­tive mind­set in Bangladesh has a long way to go be­fore it can be more ac­cept­ing of the re­vised role of women in the pro­fes­sional sec­tor. In ad­di­tion, if girls re­main un­mar­ried till the age of 26, the so­ci­ety con­sid­ers them as phys­i­cally un­fit thus in­flict­ing pres­sure on young girls as well.

If so­ci­etal bar­ri­ers were not enough to sup­press the dreams of women in the me­dia in­dus­try, then the hur­dles in the cor­po­rate world are yet an­other chal­lenge they must face. Women are in­creas­ingly vic­tim­ized to ha­rass­ment, both at work and in the field, and in­creas­ingly face kid­nap­ping threats for dar­ing to un­cover con­tro­ver­sial is­sues.

Women jour­nal­ists in Bangladesh, akin to other coun­tries, are re­quired to travel ex­ten­sively; cover sto­ries from war prone coun­tries such as Afghanistan and Pales­tine, all the while dodg­ing bul­lets and bombs to re­port live from con­flict zones. Cov­er­ing such ar­eas re­quires nerves of steel, al­low­ing re­porters to sur­vive in war-torn ar­eas for weeks with­out food and proper shel­ter. It re­quires a strong heart to live in con­di­tions where women would faint by the mere thought of it. The jour­nal­ism in­dus­try and its many chal­lenges ei­ther breaks the women and pre­vents them from stand­ing back on their feet, or boosts their con­fi­dence to be­come a model of in­spi­ra­tion for oth­ers.

Bangladeshi women in print me­dia have over­come nu­mer­ous bar­ri­ers. Armed with de­ter­mi­na­tion, strength, will-power and an eth­i­cal code of con­duct, women have bro­ken the chains of op­pres­sion to achieve their goals. How­ever, a num­ber of chal­lenges re­main and it is the duty of the so­ci­ety on the whole to en­cour­age women to rise pro­fes­sion­ally and usher in a new era of equal­ity and moder­nity in Bangladesh.

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