A lady Reporter


There is no simple answer to the question that people often ask: how does it feel ‘to be a woman journalist’? Is one to be defined by one’s gender, or by professional merit? How much does one inform the other? How much of the experience is shaped by educational background, ‘class’, connections and access? Women doing daily reporting are few and exceptional, which while disproving that women do not do daily reporting, also shows that there are structural barriers such as working late nights, resisting their integration, and they prefer working in magazine sections. 

Being a lady in this profession is sometimes tough what with all qualities that come along with the package of a ‘woman’. Sometimes this package drives us to obscene adventures. There was this unwanted episode in my life that allowed me to grow practically and not to be always convinced of things that were hovering around me. This was one of those ‘incidents’ one would like to erase it from the mind (but is not that easy). Before this job, I had a ‘better-off’ job, where everything was just what I wanted. I was full of energy and excited when I accepted the work….everything went well from day one. I got to meet and be friends with different kinds of people. I was having a great time, doing a job I liked and getting paid well! 

Anyways, all good things come to an end…

It all started with ‘someone important’ in the workplace losing his moral values! It is hard to express, the real situation but I will somehow try to bring out the story. Like I said everything was well there until that ‘someone important’ just popped out and tried to take advantage of me. Ignorant and still learning the rules of workplaces, I was awestruck by what was happening. Favor and special attentions were bestowed on me. All I thought at that time was maybe I was good at what I was doing and so the special privilege. I didn’t know that the favors and extra concerns showered on me were instead to be returned in some other ways! 

Several thoughts started developing in my mind… I was lost for the first. Thoughts on why it had happen? How it had taken place? Did I do something provocative? Was it ‘being me’ that got the wrong impression? I run out of reasons to answer me! My thoughts started battling inside me- whether to leave the job or tackle it and stay? No close friends and family was there with me share this. But, my ‘other half’, no matter how far away he was, reached me and rescued me from there. I realized again that day how it really feels to be really loved by someone! Well, with a new hope and experience I decided to go home. With proper formalities, I quit the job and let it pass by as a bad dream! It was not a ‘choice’ but a compulsion that I had to quit. And I leave the readers to think what you would do if you were in my place. 

One thing that struck my mind then, was that for all the gains women have made in media, the relationship between women and the media remains as bumpy as a ride over the pothole-filled streets of our land. I learnt that misconceptions and human errs can surely rule out a life. I see women journalist reporting in noon-day heat and reporting news on the spot, I don’t think it’s because they are more ‘presentable’, many times they are sweating buckets and facing the elements as any other. Women who work in the media, by their very presence are claiming and expanding space for other women, increasing acceptability for women in the public sphere, militating against traditional biases that curb women’s autonomy, and opening doors for the next generation. I know for a fact that Burkha Dutt is surviving in this field and she is a huge role model for all the women working in the media. So should women reporters take the lead in changing female stereotypes?