A New World

Written by Fara Abrar  •  Features  •  June 2013 PDF Print E-mail

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

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. Bangladesh, 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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