Working Women in News Media of Bangladesh Present Situation

Main purpose of this thesis is to analysis and find out information about working women in news sector, their age group, qualifications, education, family background and other information. In this thesis also identify their occupational problems they faced and identify the facilities which will encourage women for joining news media. Allover focus on the importance of this occupation according to socio-economic condition of Bangladesh.

 

Introduction

Journalism is one of most important occupation from the early age, but after 90 decades we found a silent revolution in Bangladesh increasing women journalist. Now a day younger male or female both are more interested to joint news profession. But still now female are less then male in this profession. ‘Women have proved their work in various professions and have in many cases equaled or outpaced their contribution to the national development and income of the country. Be a doctor, lawyers, engineers, business persons, social development workers, educationist, writer’s women have been proving their mark in all these professions; however it is unfortunate that there is one sector in which women are clearly lagging behind and this is the media profession and more specifically journalism.

Traditionally, media/journalism as a profession has been biased towards men. Women face both formal and informal barriers to full and equal participation in this profession at the national and local level.’1 Normally we can see that rich, educated and powerful men are dominating news media, particularly in developing countries. Women are lagging by circle of poverty, lacking of education, family responsibility, security problems, and low of society. But day by day there has been a positive change in attitudes and perceptions of society towards women in news media.

Associated with this is unsatisfactory communication system and increasingly deteriorating law and order situation that pose difficulties for women in all professions. Further, the lake of gender sensibility in the media is evidenced by the failure to eliminate the gender-based stereotyping that can be found in public and private local, national and international media organizations, particularly in developing countries. The present study has therefore, attempted to examine issues of women’s position and condition in the profession of news media in Bangladesh with a gender lens. Although, mainstreaming women in national life is a coveted agenda, the media in Bangladesh are still conquered by male. Men occupy positions, and at all levels. Yet a recent trend of more women making a career out of journalism also indicates that the profession requires a serious gender balance in the age of information revolution. What is particularly encouraging is that they are proving their worth in this challenging profession. Although media organizations are increasingly opening up to them, an ideal gender balance is yet to be reached.

The lack of security impedes the full participation of women in this profession. The threats that journalists working in certain sensitive areas face – when exposed – only dampen the enthusiasm of media women to take up more challenging journalistic reporting and investigations. Yet some have already stood up to the challenges and one may appreciate their very successful presence in the electronic media. The difference in the success of women in the electronic media as opposed to print is due to the fact that the reporters of the TV channels are always accompanied by a cameraman and vehicle, but a reporter working for newspapers is unaccompanied-no vehicle, no company-they thus hesitate to be on their own.

 

Background/Statement of the problem:

From the beginning of the last decade the position of our women in every occupational section has developed in gradually. As a prominent economic sector, news media plays an important role. So the involvement and the contribution of the female employer are increasing day by day.

This study is based on empirical study of women media professionals where they themselves talked about their own feelings, needs, perceptions and problems in the workplace and how it affects their professionals as well as personal life. It must be admitted that in a country like Bangladesh, often problems also come from the women themselves, as research has shown that Bangladeshi women need to change their attitude to professionalism; even though the problem they do face are real, in a lot of cases it is seen that women also need to be psychologically stronger to be able to deal with the challenges like women working in NGOs have done. It is a combination of employer’s sincerity and the women’s determination and confidences that will work together for a winning situation in our country. Women’s participation in economic development and public policy formulation in Bangladesh has been bolstered in recent years by the emergence of a large number.

Literature review:

In the book of ‘Women In News Media’ A Study with Gender lens- written by Afroza Akhter and Tanya H. Shahriar said that, In recent decades more women are involved in careers in media and communications sector than ever before. Women are facing formal and informal barriers to full and equal participation in almost all profession including media industry at the national or local level. Further, the lack of gender sensitivity in the media is evidenced by the failure to eliminate the gender-based stereotyping that can be found in public and private local, national and international media organizations, particularly in developing countries. Although more women are securing reasonably important offices in media, Few actually understand or have internalized gender issues and their implications. The aim of their study was- Examining the extent of women journalists and professionals’ visibility in different levels of news media, Identifying factors hindering and/or facilitating women’s effective role in news media profession & Examining the impact of women’s presence in news media profession.

In the book of ‘Women and Media’ edited by Nayeemul Islam Khan said that, Most of the women passing out from the journalism department from three universities of the country are not taking it up as a profession. He identify the reasons that- many think that journalism is not for the women. He highlighting these issues, he is bringing out the current issue of the Bangladesh Journalism Review (BJR), with the theme “Women and Media.” Like other BJR issues, this one also features write-ups by mass media specialists and veterans from home and abroad. He hope that this issue will draw further interest of the readers. Free-lancer Altaf Parvez has written emphasizing on women’s participation in the mass media, questions of women’s assertion in the profession in the light of mass media and new technologies in his article, “Gana Madhyam o Naree”. He thinks that women have to depend on the good wishes of the employers if they want to get on a job in journalism. This has to change.

Farah Kabir another writer of “Women and Media” she gave some data which help us to understand the picture better. According to the secondary sources she quoted in Dhaka there are 116 dailies, 370 weeklies, 129 fortnightly and 270 monthly papers. In Dhaka, there are more than 1500 working journalist of which only 80 are women i.e. 5%. In another survey it was reported that 85% of the working women journalists are assistant editors, 10% recruited as reporters and the rest in the editorial department. The situation out side Dhaka can well be imagined from the scenario existing in the capital. She suggestions that emerged were that it is time to sit and have dialogues with owners of the newspaper industry, news personalities in the electronic media with the objective of sensitizing them. She also proposed that a policy be developed for and adopted by the media regarding the projection of women and the presentation of news concerning or regarding women. Perhaps it is time everyone contributed in their own capacities to change and establish human rights, and gender equity in society for justice and peace, one may start with one’s own family. Peer education would also be useful. The media can play an important role to this end.

Munima Sultana wrote an article named- ‘Women Facing Challenge in Journalism’. Here she said that, the presence of women in journalism is mostly found in editorial section, feature pages and magazine reporting and this contribution is not at all little. But the doubt of male-dominated media about women’s ability also raises many other questions. Women, before starting the career, hesitate to go to reporting side as they find a good number of women to work at desk in the countries various dailies. Reporting, the lively part of journalism needs a vast tract of mobility, to mingle with various types of people and no specific time of working that our conservative society does not permit to women to do. Our conservative society still discourages women to go out at night, as it is not safe at all for them, it does not even think that women may work at night. Women’s dual role in home and office is really hard to carry together. But this is not indicated that women do not want to do reporting. Many wants as it is to give them a scope to get recognition to other, get the real charm of journalism knowing day to day development of specific events or issues in depth. As a result, few women reporters are now found in some national dailies. The men’s doubt and related questions regarding the women’s ability in journalism will be continued till we do not become able for the desired level. The challenge for women working in journalism is now not limited to reporting. The 21st century also brings many other challenges for them. We now watch many women leading in electronic media, traveling from one side of the world to another, covering science to politics, diplomatic and other important issues more successfully at the end of the 20th century.

Sources of Data and Methodology

Data have been collected from all leading news agencies (both print and visual media ) in Dhaka. Some data have been collected from questionnaire survey . And also some data gathered from secondary sources such as official record of different organizations.

Sample Design

Women working in both print and visual media in different capacities such as Journalists, Reporters, Editors, Technicians, Camera operators, Producers and news presenter etc. have been selected through the randomly sampling method. They are help for fulfill my questionnaire survey and give some data and information which give in table in next chapter. TV channels and News paper offices are selected by choice and advantageous, by using this randomly sampling.

Methods

The study used a multiple methods combining interview, focus group discussions, observation, case study and literature search..

Tools Used

The study used both structured and open-ended questionnaire, interview guidelines, etc. To collect necessary data.

Data Management and Analysis

Data obtained under the present study were both qualitative and quantitative in nature.

Therefore, data analysis was done using both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

 

Limitations of the study

  1. Due to the resource and time constraints the present study could not cover the entire Bangladesh. Therefore, a representative sampling covering a fair geographical representation could not be possible.
  2. A comprehensive picture of women’s position in the organizational structure could not be drawn due to limited /restricted access to the surveyed organizations. While some organizations, authorities and personnel were permissive others were more reticent and skeptical about the survey.
  3. Lack of adequate available data, literature or documentation on women and media be it journalism or communication also constrained the researchers to draw a valid picture that is truly prevailing in the news media industry and make conclusion.
  4. Lack of time of key personal in media organizations (like Editors, Chief Reporter etc) due to their busy schedule was a limitation to the study.
  5. As the study was mostly exploratory, absence of any hypothesis constrained the study findings to draw any hypothetical conclusion and therefore, to make parametric statistical analysis.
  6. The study could not also cover a varied range of working journalists. For example, cartoonist, news photographer or photojournalists, proofreaders and others could not be interviewed due to their very few number and invisibility.


Aim and Objectives:

  • To collect information about working women in news sector, their age group, qualifications, education, family background,& other information.
  • Identify their occupational problems they faced.
  • Identify the facilities which will encourage women for joining news media.
  • Importance of this occupation according to socio-economic condition of Bangladesh.

 

Location of study area

 

Map of Dhaka City, Source: Banglapedia

Most of TV Channels and News paper offices are situated in Dhaka, so my study area will be Dhaka metropolitan city. In Dhaka city most of TV channels are situated in Kawran bazar. Such as ETV, NTV, RTV, ATN, Bangla vision. For the most of TV channels situated in Kawran bazar that’s why this place known asmedia place. So I complete my field work in this area. But some TV channels are situated in other area in Dhaka city, such as- Some TV channels are situated in Gulshan Such as Channel one. Some are situated in Mogbazar, such as Channel-i, Desh TV etc Bangladesh TV or BTV situated in Rampura.

 

WOMEN IN NEWS MEDIA

AN OVERVIWE (BOTH PRINT AND ELECTRIC MEDIA)

Women & News media in Bangladesh

In print media -‘There were quite a few women editors in the 19th and 20th centuries who braved journalism and published weekly, monthly, quarterly newspaper and magazines.’ The first weekly magazine in Bengali edited by a Bengali Muslim woman, Begum Sufia Kamal “Begum” was published in 20 July 1947.Sufia Kamal and Jahanara Arzu jointly published “Sultana” in January 1949.These women did the job of editing or publishing with a passion and pastime. Women are started to journalism with a professional attitude since the 60s. The first ever Bengali Muslim women who was involved with daily newspaper is Hajera Mahmud who worked in the Daily Ittehad. A recent report in a news daily reveals that more than 1500 working journalists in the city only 20 are female reporters.

In visual media from the beginning of BTV we have not seen any female reporter to cover a vital reporting like diplomacy, economics, court, parliaments news etc. As a media representative they don’t get any opportunity in foreign tour. Beside this in the subject of professions they face discrimination. Now a days many TV channel are getting exceptional role in female not only news presenting but also news reporting. Like ETV, there are some channels which are doing fantastic job in news sector. Here females are showing their skill effectively. Even they are focusing their expertness in overseas reporting or very sensitive reporting like crime. The contribution of the TV channel have changed our social norms and values about our female side. Now female, who are working in news media are excepted in any where of our society with respect.

So ultimately the relationship between women and media is an exercise in analyzing the aspect of politics of the state. Women’s representation in the media (both electronic and print) is indeed pitifully peripheral in Bangladesh. Women participate in media as professionals much less than men. Although more women are securing reasonably important offices in media, few actually understand or have internalized gender issues and their implications. Samia Zaman, News Reader of the then ETV mentioned, “Even in the 70s the women in western media had to fight continuously for their place. And even though as we are fighting for our place, women are seen as the glamorous touch, but we still have to prove our selves through our skills. Though women are working, there are so few in the policy and decision-making levels of the organization. This is truly sad, and those few women who are editors like Tasmima apa have also started their own magazines or newspapers rather than go up in the hierarchy step by step. We have to work to change this situation.

Although the number of women journalists has gone up in the last couple of years, their participation in policymaking level did not increase. The Gender in Media Forum organised the seminar on ‘Gender, Rights and Media. Women journalists on several occasions have proved that they can do the same job as their male counterparts, but they often do not get the opportunity to cover important events, of the Press Institute of Bangladesh. Fifty percent of stories on women published in the newspaper are related to different forms of violence against them, calling on the media to carry more positive news on women. News of empowerment of women in different sectors should be highlighted to encourage more women to come forward to contribute to development of society.

 

Women & News media Global View

During the past decade, advances in information technology have facilitated a global communications network that transcends national boundaries and has an impact on public policy, private attitudes and behavior, especially of children and young adults (both male and female). Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women. The BPFA (Beijing Declaration and

Platform for action) has identified 12 critical areas of concern at the global consensus in 4th World Conference on Women 1995 amongst which was “Women and Media”.

It was identified

  1. potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women,
  2. lack of gender sensitivity in the media is evidenced by its failure to eliminate gender-based stereo typing that can be found in public and private local, national and international media organizations, continued projection of negative and degrading images of women in media communications- electronic, print, visual and audio must be changed, women need to be empowered by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information technology, which will strengthen their ability to combat negative portrayals of women internationally and to challenge instances of abuse of power women also need to be involved in decision-making regarding the development of new technologies in order to participate fully in growth and impact.

Official governmental reviews submitted to the UN and NGO reports indicate that there has an increase in the number of omen entering media organizations at the professional level and there has an increase in the percentage of women students graduating from journalism and mass communications courses. The women and media situations in both Asia and Latin America regions conform to this trend.

Women in Media & News has built an invaluable resource in the Power Sources Project. Through it, I am always able to locate articulate, critical female voices for both edgy and everyday topics. The time sensitivity of WIMN’s services, combined with the quality of the experts, make a powerful one-two punch for journalists looking to diversify their stories. The Television News Agency is a joint collaboration between the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Journalists and the Dhaka-based Bangladesh Centre for Development Journalism and Communication.

 

Print Media

Women in media rarely known to have risen to the position of decision-making, except for a few examples. Among all the leading dailies, gender issues are rarely addressed. However, as the issue crop up, the assignments are done instantaneously without having a guideline or briefing. Perhaps women issues owe their precarious treatment by the media, to the aloofness or bias of the decision-makers with the issues. The few women reporters, who have overcome their inhibitions, while working on challenging beats, resolve their problems with their colleagues. The male colleagues, albeit, are usually sympathetic to their female equals.

The assignment on gender issues in newspapers is usually given to female journalists if the organization has any in the team. It is quite common that women journalists lose interests in the beat and soon skepticism takes over, mostly due to realization that neither can they promote the issue nor themselves. The occasional attention to women’s issues suffers due to the absence of appropriate policy guidelines.

During various international Days like Women’s Day etc., the issues get an occasional highlight in the media. The whole perspective could have been different if more women were involved in the decision-making panel. Drawing attention of the policymakers to the praxis that women’s empowerment is strongly connected with development issues could have been easier. The pressing poverty, the absence of basic requirements for the general public, the sustainability of all development are interconnected with gender empowerment. If we take lessons from the developed world what we see is an open horizon for equal opportunity.

The retarding factors- dropping gender participation- have barely been addressed in the configuration of the media. All newcomers, for that matter, require training, some in the form of apprenticeship, for which there is no fix curriculum or guideline to follow. Only few available programmes are the occasional donor sponsored training programmes of the press institutes, besides the university offered courses.

Gender equality in print media can effectively help lower disparity in terms of gender empowerment. Despite the recent trend, many newspapers still have a lower proportion of women journalists. Some newspapers have no female journalist in their office at all. One of the leading English dailies in Dhaka has only two lady reporters as opposed to twenty-five male and fifteen women in the house of one hundred working journalists. In another house, except for some female presence in the computer section, there is no woman journalist. In most of the Bangla dailies, of course, women are either working in the feature sections or at the desks.

They prefer feature or desk to reporting, essentially because reporting involves enormous amount of risk and hassles during the assignments, and also requires working till late. Actually in most cases the ratio of women to men is regrettably low. The situation is undeniably detrimental especially considering women’s place as political leaders and front-liner in policy making.

Yet penalty of the social taboos and conservative values, confining women within the four walls, are gradually phasing out minimizing the dredging disparity of gender balance also in media. The city women are increasingly inclined towards journalism as a career.

Yet the in-house environment in the media still requires being more women friendly in terms of its amenities and approaches.

Women journalists, nonetheless, are generally employed here without any prior advertisement and the job is offered usually through personal contacts. Qualified journalists can easily lose their jobs and remain jobless for very long. Another trend observed in recent years is that media employers look for new hands rather than experienced ones, only to avoid paying more (wage board). The new hands are only paid a provisional amount as apprentice and by the time she qualifies to get wage board (if she can survive the time) it has already been two to three years.

On the contrary, competence in women is usually dreadful. In addition, media, instead of eliminating the problems, ensures security of its female members by keeping them away from competitive beats. They remain obviously isolated and unable to avail corresponding opportunity. While social taboos are breaking down in urban areas, rural women remain in the clutches of patriarchal repression, despite contributing more than their male counterparts. If newspapers recruit more of their muffasssil (rural) correspondents from among eligible women, women’s issues in the villages will also highlight.

 

Electronic Media

Backwardness of women in journalism, both print and electronic, is commonly ascribed to lack of security. Despite strong soliciting on the need of gender empowerment in media, print media still falls behind while electronic media evolve with a difference.

The emerging electronic media in the country has altogether a different story to tell. Suddenly, there is a dynamic presence of female faces on the screen competing with their male colleagues. The competing electronic media in the country is a new phenomenon started about three/four years back with three private channels, besides BTV, (state owned). News alone in these channels has more, if not equal (to the male), female reporters. The electronic media, nonetheless, transpire a new scenario, a phenomenon of gender empowerment deriving through the clear voices of women journalists interviewing the finance minister or other dignitaries visiting Bangladesh or highlighting other important issues.

As we all know, in South Asia, a woman in the family is either the father’s, the brother’s or husband’s and it is quite common to even decide her career for her. The difference today is the economic pressure bringing changes in social outlook. The euphoria of the market economy has made gender empowerment an imperative.

 

DATA ANALYSIS AND THEIR PROBLEMS ASSESSMENT

Here I describe findings which collect from my questioner survey:

Get facilities in working place.

FacilitiesNumberPercentage
Get social help & inspiration916.98%
Get help for collect information2343.40%
Do not get any facilities1120.75%

Here we can see that which female’s are get social help and inspiration these number is 9 and percentage is 16.98%.Which female’s are get help for collect information the number is 23 and their percentage is 43.40%.And finally which female’s are do not get any facilities their number are 11 and their percentage is 20.75%.

From my survey it is come out clearly that this is a very secured job place for women. Generally they are getting many types of facilities from this job, such as transportation, some times get suitable working shift etc. Through this job, their social status are being developed. Now a days women are feel not only secured in this job but also think it is a suitable field or job for them.

Increasing female employee.

TimeNumberPercentage
1971-198035.66%
1981-1990713.21%
1991-20001732.08%
2001-20102445.28%
Total5196.23%

Here time is divided in four decade 1971-1980, 1981-1990, 1991-2000, 2001-2010. Here we see that women journalist are most found in the time of 2001-2010. Which number is 24 and percentage is 45.28%.

Day by day women are increasing in news media sector . Though still now the number of man is more then women. The number of men and women can vary in different section. Such as in reporting section man are more than women, it may be print media or visual media both. But in visual media women are more than man in news presenting section.

 

Salary discrimination.

DescriptionFaced No.    PercentageDo not Faced No.  Percentage
Faced harassment1120.75%4279.25%
Faced problems1528.30%3871.70%
Need more salary4686.79%713.21%

Here we see that which women are faced harassment and problems their number are 11 and 15 and their percentage is 20.75% and 28.30%. Who are not faced any harassment and problems their number is 42 and 38 and their percentage is 79.25% and 71.70%. But most women want their salary should be more.

In news media there is a bad reputation, the employee are often got less salary than the Government job scale. There has no formal salary structure here except some media. But maximum news media do not follow the rules of Bangladesh Government. So after a long time women are getting very poor salary. Still now maximum women are not satisfied with their salary.

 

How long you are working here: Answer of this question.

Year5 Year6 Year7 Year8 Year9 Year10 Year11Year or more
Number5821222
Percentage22.73%36.36%9.09%4.55%9.09%9.09%9.09%

Here we see that 5 women are working about 5 year and its percentage is 22.73%. Most women are working about 6 years its number is 8 and percentage is 36.36%. But only 2 women are working more than 10 years.

Female employee is independent in working place.

YesFew timesNo
1741
77.27%18.18%4.55%

In the table-5 we can see most female employee are independent in her working place their number are 17 and percentage is 77.27%. 4 women’s are independent in work for few times and their percentage is 18.18%. Only 4.55% women are not independent in working place.

Company providing the transportation facilities for female employee.

AnswerYesNo
Number148
Percentage63.64%36.36%

In the table-6 we see that 63.64% women are get transportation facilities from company. Only 36.36% women are not get this facility, so they faced some problems for transport.

Reasons of entry in this profession.

Easily got this jobNo alternativeEmotionallyWillinglyAs challenging jobInspired by family
341572

In the table-7 we see that 3 women said their reasons of entry in this profession that they easily got this job, 4 women said they had no alternative, 1 said emotionally, 5 said they came willingly, 7 took it as a challenging profession, rest of them was inspired by their family.

If any difficulties in out sourcing data collection

AnswerYesSometimesNoNot applicable
Number6583
Percentage27.27%22.73%36.36%13.64%

In the table-8 we see that 6 women said that they faced difficulty and their percentage is 27.27%. 5 said sometimes faced difficulties. Most of them said no difficulties faced and their number is 8 and percentage is 36.36%. Rest of them said not applicable.

 

Developing socio-economic condition

The working women are contributing and developing our socio-economic condition highly. In every section of economic activities they play a vital role. In news media lot of female are joining every and that are certainly benefited to our society.

Highlighting their Problems

There are many limitations or problems we can found in our working women in news media. They often face some difficulties in their work field. These problems are can vary for working women, such as female reporter are faced more problems because sometimes they may be work at night time and some times they may go in the out side from the city. These are the major problems for their own protection and their family. After finishing their night shift they need company for their safety return. For this reason they (female reporter) are in great trouble.

The media creates many problem in the organization, which has kept as a sewer place for male that has announced in 1995 on the thesis of “Beijing platform for action”. Probably it is applicable also in Bangladesh. In the invention of Beijing, it has proposed to that the participant country for presenting female on the write way and increasing their participation, even take a step for creating change to making decision in the media. This is also said that in the convention, the government will take steps for closing representation women in the negligible and negative way in the media. In a word hard and fast rule will not be acceptable for women. Though thousand of female study in the journalism in three universities but very few number of female come for reporting. May be 40-50 women are working as a reporter, but very few women are them who reports about court, parliament, political or crime. There are some information such as problem, reality and possibility which came out from the female workers interviews in profession of journalism, are as follows:

  • Still now more female are not coming in the reporting for some real problems in this section.
  • Still now female are known as very newer as worker of our country. Just they are trying to come in the job sector. Some people say, there are some problem in the job sector as the journalism profession for female.
  • They are deprived from the important assignment seems to be that they are unable to do that no evaluation against their expertness. Most of time they are neglected/ignored. Authorities most of time give them easy and less important assignment.
  • We can see that for any foreign trains particularly sent some female which is arranged only for female. Very few female are sent foe general training for journalism.
  • In the natural calamity and other problems like as- flood, storm etc one male reporter can come to collect the report easily but not a female. As a result, they can not show their expertness though they have their ability.
  • Night duty is also a problem for female. Transport is one of the problem at night for female reporter. For lacking of transport problem they feel unsecured about them. There are some information’s which are highlighted in the report give in the bellow:
  • There are many causes for failiring of female in the media sector. For this main cause is women are more serious about their family then their profession. On the other hand most of the female worker leave from their jobs or take a long vacation after baby berthing.
  • They are unable to have the high technical machines for lacking of training. They are not fit for at night shift job.
  • They are unable to make a programme for important and risky news such as accident for their ill feelings and physical problems and it is one of the main cause to improve their ability.
  • Asian culture political situation and tradition are not suitable for the women.
  • For giving foreign training husband or family will not send her wife or daughter, other wise misunderstanding creates in the family.
  • Which area are known for drinking wine in a cultural function, female reporters are can not create the link with this kind of
  • cultural function.
  • If any female wants to go high level in job sector she must do ten male’s job and achieve more expertness and invest hard labour.
  • Sometimes female reporter faced sexual scandal when collect the report.

 

FINDINGS

Women’s profession of media is very important to society and requires both skill and dedication. More then most other jobs held by women, they offer intellectual challenge and the rewards of doing socially valued work. The present study identifies a number of factors that affect women’s career in news media. These are at presented in below:

Work and Family-Putting it all together

Despite society’s efforts to keep work and family roles separate, for example, when we say that “you shouldn’t bring your work home from office” or that “you shouldn’t let your personal problems affect your work”, they do affect each other. Today women are increasingly combining mothering with paid work.

Is Housework Shared?

Gender roles in Bangladesh context (esp. urban context) is changing very slowly and still today, housework and childcare remain primarily the responsibility of women. A women’s involvement in her paid work may depend not only on whether she has young children but also on whether she has a partner who earns and/or shares family responsibility. If so, the question of how flexible is her partner’s work role and how do both partners along with other family members (if any) paid work depends on the other. For example, if one earns high salary, the other may feel less tide to a job or if one’s job is only part time, the other may put in over time. GOB has shown that women work no less then 14 hours every day and for urban working women the hour is rather longer i.e. 16 to 17 hour till they get to sleep. ‘ Comparisons of couples in Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and the USA showed that women did more housework regardless of their own income or their country’s level of economic development.  This is equally true for women in media. In the 2000 IWMF survey 64% respondents said that women journalists face the dual challenge of balancing work and home and this is the top obstacle they face. It is the greatest obstacles as it is the greatest challenge career women face in their work and rightfully examined that the employers take the stand by that if women are want equal treatment they can not in the same breath ask for special treatment and leniency because they have families to look after. Women are receive little support from their partner in this regard. Rather, their parents, in-laws and /or relatives help them out with household responsibility. The respondents also reported that they further face families pressure and community resistance in the form of teasing and bad remarks esp. while working late hours in the office. In a question which position would they prefer most and why, an overwhelming majority of the respondents (94%) said “editing/feature writing or any desk job is preferable because it allows balancing work and family. The study also reveals that 50% respondents are working in desk job while 35% working as reporters. From secondary data it was found that out of total 111 women, in journalism at the national dailies and e-media 56% women are found working in desk job while 40%as reporter. Sometimes, it also happened that women declined from good offer due to family responsibility the respondents added.

 

Naturally women’s work as extension of Family Roles:

If we look at the response pattern of the present study it is clear that a both the management and a large part of the respondents themselves believe in this notion that women are more good in desk job because of their calm and caring nature. Also, more then 50% of the respondents reported that management considers their involvement in the career as secondary to their husband/family’s earning. Therefore, in case of promotion they get less priority than their male colleagues for consideration/decision. As a result, women earn less money than their male colleagues. Sometimes the result is that either women’s potential remains underutilized or women leave their job or go “freelance”. Such general attitude of the management towards women’s role in the office and for promotion adversely affects the women economically.

 

Gender discrimination can found in the Work place:

Women’s position in the workplace in not just a static aspect of social structure. It is continually enacted and remade as people make workplace decisions influenced by gender. Judgment about other people are affected by gender in many ways, and affect other’s behavior in turn. For example, attribution biases lead to different explanations of women’s and men’s behavior, gender functions as status cue, with men being accorded higher status and gender distinctions maintain social boundaries. Let’s examine how true this is for the present study findings.

Gender discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately a legitimate concern for many people. Though most companies are self-proclaimed equal opportunity employers, gender, racial, cultural, religious and sexual orientation discrimination are all prevalent in today’s society. In this free video series on the workplace, a certified civil mediator discusses discrimination of all kinds as it relates to careers. Find out what gender discrimination is, and get tips on preventing it in the workplace. Hear examples of discrimination that are prohibited by as part of the Civil Rights Act, and learn about other forms of discrimination that can take place in a work setting. Understand the aspects of discrimination with this helpful legal guide.

 

Achievement Motivation

Respondents though generally agreed that women still lack in this areas, few strong women in this profession asserted that this attribute is essential for achieving in any profession and women must possess or acquire this motivation. They also opined that the overall improvement of the workplace culture and due recognition of their job would boost up women’s achievement motivation, hi this connection 22% of the respondents put lack of recognition/promotion as number one f actor, following their rating of prevailing management and male attitude (16%) and lack of congenial work Environment (12%) as the second and third most important factors hindering their effective role in this industry. Also women lack professional attitude, assertiveness and commitment to strive to excel, they opined.

 

Qualification-Writing skills, Accumulation of ‘source’

In the journalism career many of the best opportunities require a background of forceful writing skill and skill on rich “source”. This study finding both interview data and secondary data led to a somewhat disturbing conclusion that though many women have passion for writing they lack skills in writing and in building ‘source’.26 Most of the Editors also stressed on this point that in the news media industry regardless of male or female, writing skill esp. language and comprehension skills and accumulation of source are vital. The most agreed three qualities that a successful news professional should have are:

General:

Mental stability and general knowledge, linguistics, work relevant knowledge, and political and economic knowledge.

Professional/Occupational:

Knowledge base, knowledge about public laws and labor laws, and cognition on administrative functions at both government and non-governmental spheres.

Personal/Individual:

diligent, charisma, intelligent, smart in decision-making, confidentiality, progressive.

 

Qualitative Change

It is not adequate to have women for their more presence. However, they need to prepare themselves to assert their rights and compete. Media is the place to start this movement — empowerment of women calls for development in society, development that is sustainable and which reduces poverty (these are correlated and interlinked with each other). No progress can come to a nation which does not involve half of its population in nation-building activities. Now that gender empowerment is well documented and it is an accepted fact that progress of society depends on the empowerment of women, not including women in all socio-economic activities is like excluding half of its workforce from the mainstream. Coverage of women’s issues does not include aspects which promote and create awareness for gender empowerment among the citizens, apart from just event coverage.

 

Participation

More than 20 leading newspapers come out from Dhaka every morning both in Bangla and English. And there are two major news agencies-one government-owned and the other private. While readership is poor compared to the large population of the country, the quickly rising literacy rate – over 60 per cent (official) – can change the situation. Enrollment of the girl-child into schools in the past decade has shown amazing progress, yet new challenges crop up with new circumstances. The attention of the policymakers can be drawn to these issues for rendering motivational coverage to promote the new emerging causes and women journalists can play a positive role.

Empowerment

What needs to be decided first is whether women’s participation is required to simply fill in the quantitative participation or to have qualitative participation, to excel in their fields they have a right to equal opportunity. Generating more opportunities and expanding room for participation and also creating awareness among people on the necessities of women empowerment is essential. Though the environment in the offices has improved, their structural condition is not all that conducive. Unless women themselves are aware of their rights, even economic pressure and mere freedom are not going to take them very far.

Changing social attitude and increased number of women

It must be admitted that the media has also changed a great deal in the last 10 years or so, trying to be more open and objective. One of the greatest strengths that the media has today is its ability to be able to break down socio-economic, racial and other types of barriers and contribute greatly to democratization by providing space and hearing to vulnerable groups and individuals. Recently there has been a great positive trend in reporting human interest stories especially women’s and in this way the media plays a much greater role in the struggle for gender equity than ever before.30 Currently violence related news are getting coverage with more importance and frequency than ever before that is leading to an increased readership awareness and a public opinion against the perpetrator and sometime taking an explicit social movement.

Time is pushing women to equip themselves to face challenges of the new millennium to share responsibilities, to improve their position and to come out from the back seat to the frontline. NGOs’ role in mobilizing women through their macro-credit programmes has broken the taboos, but there is a little progress in economic emancipation. Bangladesh has initiated tuition free girls’ education up to class eight and further to intermediate if girls are eager. In garments industries women laborers are now well appreciated for their workability and sincerity.

A five per cent increase in the number of seats reserved for women in the parliament is another step for their empowerment. Government offices have reserved quotas for women. The garment industry accommodating women, has initiated women’s economic participation. Media possibly awaits a policy guideline that would pledge gender balance eliminating impediments.

Though Bangladesh is well documented by the Human Resources Development Division under United Nations, as the pioneering country in gender empowerment and success stories in women empowerment, absence of persistent development is called for in this regard. Progress made in gender empowerment in many sectors, were also recognized by donors, the interrelation between poverty alleviation and sustainable development and women empowerment is emphasized as well. So media in Bangladesh is still struggling to achieve its desired aspirations to institutionalize, perhaps this is the time to incorporate more women in the media organizations.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION

The findings of the present study strongly suggest that women and men have very different experiences in the workplace, and these differences both reflect and perpetuate in the gender system. The gendered world of work encompasses structural factors, interaction factors and individual level difference. The study also presented that the reality still remains not only in Bangladesh but also across the globe women are engaged in a complex “balancing act” in trying to integrate work and family roles. Solutions lay not only on individual efforts but also on developing organizational and public policy that recognize the realities of women in the work force. Women and their families need social supports such as child care options, flexible work arrangement, gender friendly environment and last but not the least, effective sanctions against sex discrimination and harassment.

On the negative aspect the study reveals that while a notable increase in women’s presence in media institutions is visible, particularly on television and radio, women continue to have limited participation and access to decision-making in the communications industry and in governing bodies that influence media policy. Even as more women’s issues are being covered, negative representations of women in media when the projection of cultural diversity and varying realities of women’s lives remain absent. Women need encouragement and opportunity to develop skills and knowledge to be able to assume leadership position and exercise power effectively and wisely. In this connection, helping women gain skills they need to achieve office and appointments to decision-making among colleagues, governing bodies, different committees, and women audience to educate leaders on specific concerns that need to be addressed directly by such process.

One of the greatest challenges of the women’s participation in media profession and empowerment is therefore to broaden the scope and mandate of their leadership along the hierarchy of both print and electronic media. The efforts and success of bringing the female population in to media profession are to participate in and benefit from media institutions. For this, mechanisms need to be created to make media leaders accountable to their female colleagues. Women need to understand how their numerical advantage can be translated into political power play to protect and promote their own welfare, decision-making in the media industries and governing authorities and bodies that oversee formulation and implementation of media policies. This report therefore proposes the following recommendations:

 

At the individual level:

There is an emphasis within women them selves; women fail to achieve because the lack necessary skills, achievement motivation, fear success or are socialized early in life to value vicarious achievement and nurturing rather than autonomy. The best way to change women’s work situation is to provide self- improvement and training programs to help women overcome their deficiencies. An example may be the popular assertiveness training courses for women.

Training:

Women involved in feature editing and other editorial jobs must be given training with gender perspectives so that they can properly put up the women issues and collect news for that. Also, nominate more women journalists to different training programs and fellowships within and outside country as offered by different media organizations and human rights organizations. Reporters particularly need training on writing skills and how to gather ‘source’. Women also need to have more hands on exposure and training on investigative journalism.

At the Organization structural level:

The organization structural change implies that not only individual but also the system must change in order for equity to be achieved. Rather than viewing women as unique, it is important to see their problems as similar to problems faced by other disadvantaged groups. This would particularly help focus on the impact that organization has on the people in it. The gender friendly work atmosphere will ensure that jobs are not unrewarding to women and there fore they display initiative and ambition. Structural change will truly open opportunities for advancement to boost up women’s ambition and adaptive adjustment. Evaluating jobs on the basis of comparable worth is another. That’s why structural change is necessary to ensure that equal opportunity leads to equal performance.

The educational/professional institutions:

In this case the Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication of different universities, college, private or professional institutes, Press institutes or likewise institutes have to make their curriculum and teaching approach more applied and assignment oriented so that students/fresher/apprentice can make their choice as to what section of the journalism or news media he or she would like to join and prepare himself/herself accordingly. These institutes should also organize seminars inviting professionals, policy players and resource persons to instigate interactive dialogue among the parties concerned (i.e. students, academicians, researchers and media professionals) on a regular basis so that it gives the students ample opportunity to get a clear insight about this profession before they decide on their career plan. The institutes should also make internship a mandate for all students studying at the advanced stage of the courses. For that a regular liaison is necessary to maintain with all news media agencies and organizations.

Government Policy:

Journalism as an important issue and concern is absent in national policy framework. Pronunciation of issues concerning women in media in the NAP (National Action Plan) for women, CEDAW (Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), and UN charter is not enough. It should be an integral part of the national five-year plan. The government policy and legislation to accommodate women’s concern and/or increase women’s representation in this sector must be drafted with detailed strategic direction.

Another recommendations:

Open opportunities should be created for women to join media and institutional support to facilitate them must be improvised.

  • A defence mechanism against all kinds of discrimination against women has to be adopted.
  • In-house training facilities should be offered.
  • Job security and job description should be detailed before each appointment.
  • Provisional appointments must bear defense clauses for women journalists, so they do not become a victim of the circumstances.
  • Measures against sexual harassment at workplaces should be ensured

At last I can say that, the word of work presents women not only with many problems. Women must also realize that this profession has certain uniqueness and positivism as well that many other professions do not have. It has the thrill, charm and potentials to become celebrity. It has the sense of fulfillment once the search for truth is attained. The problems instead of seeming large and unsolvable, women must assert that equity for career women is not an impossible dream.

 

Sample of questions

  1. Name & Age of respondent/s.
  2. Educational qualification.
  3. Family background (Economical condition).
  4. Marital status.
  5. Reasons of entry in this profession.
  6. What are the desired qualification for this job.
  7. How long you are working here.
  8. In which department you are involved.
  9. Total time you have to work in this job.
  10. Are you satisfied with your salary.
  11. Do you   think   your   social   condition   has   increased   after   join   this job.
  12. What are the difference between news sector from other job.
  13. What are the advantages & disadvantages in news sector.
  14. How many male & female are working here.
  15. In which types of department female like in this job.
  16. Being a female, do you get any facilities.
  17. Male colleagues are helpful for female.
  18. Why male are available than female in reporting?
  19. Is company providing the transportation facilities for female employee.
  20. For making a report is female employee is independent.
  21. In future it is a suitable field for female.
  22. Explain their needs, which help to encourage them for this job.
  23. What is the importance of this occupation to socio-economic condition of Bangladesh.