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09.07.2009 Feature Article

Bangladesh: Women role in journalism

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In present time, Bangladesh is more encouraging for women to work outside the home. Once, while the history of newspaper of Bangladesh had started, the society was not that much of encouraging for working woman outside. As journalism is a bit challenging profession, women were less encouraged to do the job. Presently a significant number of women are involved in journalism, very specifically they are involved in newsroom management, reporting, views writing and editing deferent pages. And of course, by doing so they are contributing to the society for economic prosperity and changing the attitude towards the development concept and process. These contributions also are paving the way for women and human emancipation.

Factually, the history of the newspaper of Bangladesh has started after the end of British rule in South Asia. At the age of feudal lords, newspapers were in the form of Magazines, which were patronized by the Zaminders. At mid 40s of last century few Kolkata centric regular newspapers appeared in the landscape. One of those newspaper migrated to this land as the South Asia divided into two countries. After that scenario, few more dailies and periodicals had emerged mainly in Dhaka and many other town as well of the land, which was called East Pakistan, the present time Bangladesh. Probably the history of the newspaper of Bangladesh could be fragmentized in to three major parts. One is from 1947 to 1970, the second is the 1971 and the third is post independent newspapers. Post independent newspapers also could be segmented into two era that is post 90s of last century and pre 90s. 1990 is also a mile post for the development of democratic process that contributed a lot on the mind set of people at large and specifically on the mind set of women; and many newspapers of the country were also emerged at that period.

If employment is the consideration, pre independent era is not satisfactory. But there were a handful of grate women, who contributed a lot by their writings for the change of the society. Monthly Begume is a milestone, which could be cited. In fact this periodical was the forum of women writers of that period. The second half of pre independence era has a significant role as the then regular newspapers introduced women pages. At that time and yet today the women pages are mainly edited managed and wrote by women. This initiative contributes a lot for making women as well as man aware about the empowerment of women. This endeavor makes the society aware to think about the women emancipation and to realize that the women rights is the human rights.

In true sense, if any initiative is being taken to measure the contribution of women in journalism, social condition of women must be taken into account. A survey conducted in the year of 2006 showed that point four percent of women have accessibility to internet; 12 percent have accessibility to the newspaper, 11 point four percent able to watch Cable TV; 58 point five percent women have the accessibility to Other TV and 15 point 7 percent have accessibility to radio. These statistics is a reflection that the contribution of women to the journalism could go how far.

With many limitations, post independent newspapers started to encourage women for their newsroom. Most of the newspaper recruited newsroom staffs from the women flock. This initiatives empowered women journalists in contain planning and newsroom management. Few of them showed their skill and knowledge at the level of excellence.

The eighth decade of last century emerged as the era of weeklies and many women started their job in reporting, which is the most challenging segment of journalism. This women flock contributes a lot in the reporting out look. It should be mentioned that in the male dominated society, the agony and happiness of women are always less emphasized. So, in most cases, male reporters are in a mood of absent-mind to dig out the problem of women, may be it is personal or social.

By the time, the society advanced and takes a mental shape to see women in the work out of the home. Particularly the society convinced intellectually to the cause that women should work side by side of their meal partners of counterparts whatever. This social change attracts women to join in the profession of journalism. Now, at least in journalism, male and female are working together in all the segment of the industry. This come-out of women changes a lot in terms of out look.

In Bangladesh, presently there are mainly four categories of journalists are working- first the employees of foreign press working in Bangladesh, second the employees of urban press, third the employees of rural or semi-urban press and the fourth grassroots representatives of urban press. In all categories a significant number of women are working and contributing a lot in the changing process of social out look towards women.

As the society is yet male dominated, the contribution of women journalist as professional and as women is very important to the process of social changes and development. Because the society should go more in terms of progressive thinking.

Mohoshin Abbas
Mohoshin Abbas, © 2009

The author has 26 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: MohoshinAbbas

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