Sisterhood of women
about for years.
To me this sisterhood does not just stand for its members boosting one another professionally in a mad race with their male co-professionals. It signifies the support women provide one another on a human plane which is often missing among men. Women are not ashamed to be human first.
That is what I learnt when two topranking female journalists in the US, Judi Woodruff and Maria Shriver, who introduced me at the IWMF award ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles, demonstrated first their human dimension rather than their journalistic acumen. When I walked up to the rostrum to be hugged by my pre- senter and to give my acceptance speech, I found myself in a dilemma. There I was holding my white cane awkwardly and not knowing where to deposit it. On both the occasions each of these women promptly extended her hand to relieve me of the cane!
Earlier throughout our stay the women’s perspective I have written about all my life was always visible. In our group was Asmaa al-Ghoul, the Courage in Journalism Award winner from Gaza, who had a three-month-old baby, Zeina. She came with her daughter — and her husband, Tamer, who accompanied her to help with the baby.
All of us were taking care of one another and Zeina became the centre of attention. This was accepted as something quite natural as this support helped us function quite normally and cheerfully.
But at the heart of it all was serious journalism. Here were women doing a serious job. Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe, has reported on the corruption of the top leaders of Azerbaijan and received threats to silence her while a smear campaign was unleashed against her by the powers-that-be in her country to deter her from exposing the malpractices of the rulers. Asmaa protested through her blogs against the restrictive practices of the Hamas in Gaza but threats and arrest did not silence her because she insisted that the Hamas was not creating the homeland she and others had struggled for.
The Ethiopian journalist, Reeyot Alemu, the third winner of the 2012 courage award, could not attend the award ceremonies. She continues to languish in prison as the Ethiopian strongman could not tolerate her outspoken reporting. Pakistan had its winner for courage in journalism way back in 1994. She was the late Razia Bhatti, the editor of Newsline, who was put under so much pressure by the administration for her news magazine’s bold reporting that she could stand it no more and died