Female journalists gain deserved recognition

Over the past 21 years the International Women’s Media Foundation has attempted to recognize the outstanding work by female journalists, especially those working in male dominated societies and hostile environments.  For example, Iranian journalist Parisa Hafezi has not had an easy road to success.  During her career, she has been not been taken seriously, beaten and jailed.  This, sadly, is the norm for female journalists in specific areas of the world.

Female journalists take great risks to report news.

Hafezi is not the only female journalist that has had such experiences.  With all of these atrocious acts happening to female journalists, the IWMF, for the past 21 years, has been recognizing female journalists who stand out in terms of bravery while reporting.   CBS, last week, covered the IWMF’s 21st annual Courage in Journalism Awards.  Keynote guest speakers included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ABC reporter George Stephanopoulus and Princess Rym Ali of Jordan to name a few.

With all of the negative actions towards journalists in other areas of the world, why would anyone want to willingly jump into this situation?  Chiranuch Premchaiporn, of Thailand, was one of the three women that won a courage award at last week’s ceremony.  She faces up to 20 years in Thai prison for knowingly breaking Thailand’s computer crime and freedom laws.

With risk of imprisonment, physical harm or death, these brave women have continued their responsibilities and duties as journalists without second thoughts.  East Asian countries where free press is unheard of or middle-eastern countries that are male dominated, these women are not intimidated.

What does these journalist’s willingness to report the news regardless of punishment stay about the state of journalism?  Should there be separate journalism bravery awards for male and female journalists?  Are the risks for female and male journalists always the same?


6 responses to “Female journalists gain deserved recognition

  1. While I’m glad they are awarding such brave female journalists, I still think we have a long way to go. I just recently wrote a report about women in media and, except in the magazine industry, all forms of media continue to be dominated by males. Even in the magazine industry, women continue to have unequal pay and benefits. I long for the day that women and men will be treated equally in all forms of media. However, now I don’t believe the risks are the same for females and males. Especially for females reporting in societies that are patriarchies worse than our own.

    • I completely agree with you, Kylie. What do you think can be done to help to speed up the process of equality in the journalism work place for women?

      • To be honest, I’m not really sure what can be done. Feminist activists, including myself, fight for equality every day, but I think it really rests on men giving women the time of day. Obviously it “takes two to tango”, but it really does rest on men turning the patriarchal society into an equal one.

  2. I agree with Kylie: we still have a long way to go before we are fully treated as equals, not only in the journalism industry, but in the business world as well. There are also a lot of places we can’t go, especially in the Middle East. In many countries, especially conservative Muslim countries, female journalists wouldn’t be taken seriously at all. They might be considered “out of bounds” and thus wouldn’t get interviews. While I think we’re going in the right direction, change seems slow when I look closely at women’s rights in the working world.

  3. Olivia–I, with the large amount of time I have spent in Israel, can agree with you about the lack of respect given to women journalists in the middle east. In many of those countries, women (if they are even allowed to be journalists) do no serious reporting. What do you think can be done to change this? Should these women leave and do reporting else where? Will these countries ever change?

  4. No matter where you report, it takes a lot of determination and passion to be a reporter. The United States has embedded journalists to travel to other countries, risking their lives in the process, just to get a story out. You have to be dedicated to spreading news. I’m glad they have these kind of awards for women in journalism because women already have to deal with patriarchal systems on top of her country’s censorship and authoritarian rule. That is probably a reason men don’t have such an award. Of course men are taking the same risks, but unfortunately, being female many times heightens risk. If women of a certain country are already oppressed or looked down upon in the first place, taking the chance of putting oneself out there for others is even more commendable.

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