Woman journalists divulge their woes and aspirations [Archives:2003/658/Culture]

August 11 2003

Fahmia Al-Fotih
Last time I interviewed female graduates from Information College who talked about the hopes and dreams as well as the difficulties and problems they face, as the society misunderstands nature of their work.
This time I have tried to also to shed light on woes the professional and longed-experienced female journalists. I was covering a workshop and I seized the opportunity to ask some of my friends who told me about their problems and the troubles they face as they are journalists, however, they asked not to record anything as they said that if they told me their real problems and answered me frankly, people, and in the first place male journalists would not understand.
Fortunately, another female journalist was sitting with us and she sorrowfully said, she was about to write about the same topic as I would like to spotlight the difficulties and problems Yemeni female journalists face. I myself have a problem. My brothers get embarrassed when somebody asks them how they let me work as journalist. And I am sure that my brothers tolerate that reluctantly, as they need my assistance, as I am the eldest in my family. Sometimes my brothers lie about my real job. Many times I feel that there is somebody following me. For example, sometimes I am in a hotel to cover an event or workshop and when somebody calls me at home and asks where I am, my brothers cannot answer. Not all people can understand that the nature of my job requires being in such place and such time. The other thing that really annoys me that everybody thinks that the girl that is in media is a girl without morals and values and they expect from her to kick out all the common norms and traditions of the Yemeni society and that is completely injustice.”
Amal Ibrahim, a journalist, ” I think the first obstacle that female journalist faces is the degrading outlook of the society to her work and consider it as illegal as her work needs more contacts and sometimes for many hours of work that often family gets fed up with, though, they are convinced with my professional message.”
She added, “I face daily obstacles, I have got used to them and become part of my life. Despite of knowing that journalism is the job of trouble I always hoped to help people and take part in solving their problems. So I decided to be a journalist since I was at the high school. I have joined journalism with a total content and I feel that the way is long to fulfill my career ambitions. However, I am lucky for the support I have been receiving from my bosses in my work”
She concluded “Media now control the world and guide the public opinion and change it. Thus, we, men and women, have to entirely realize that our pens write honestly and consciously.”
Dua'a al-Kaderi, a journalist and correspondent for al-Mushahed Asayasi magazine, proudly said, “It was my dream to be a journalist and a correspondent of an international publication that finally has come true. I have been practicing journalism since I was student in Information College. My experience has increased day by day by writing field reports, stories and covering most workshops, conferences and symposiums that enable me to be successful. After graduation I have worked for many Yemeni independent newspapers as I believe that the successful journalist is unprejudiced who gives the story the credibility and objectivity.”
She continued “Today my second dream comes true as I have become a correspondent for al-Mushahed Asayasi magazine and I think that honesty and loving people help me a lot”
She denied that she faced any obstacles in her work “Surely there are impediments in all professions; however, I have not faced any. This is not pride or exaggeration but the truth is that I have a support from my small family and society. The Yemeni society has recently started to understand the importance of mass media in the age of the overflow information and telecommunication technology. I do not think that the Yemeni society mortifies the woman who works in media. On the contrary, I think the society looks at us with respect and admiration.”
She commented on the level of female journalists “The educational and training level of female journalist is excellent compared to their counterparts and this is not a bias. Yemeni female journalist has proved for herself and the society the importance of the Yemeni woman issues and it becomes necessary to admit her role in developing the Yemeni society.”
Warda al-Awadi, a journalist, “I love journalism as it enables me to be in touch with and tackle people's problems and the society at large. So I have studied it, believing in the role the media play and that journalism is a link between the government and the public. A means for communicating and exchange of opinions.”
She commented on society outlook at the female journalist, “The outlook of society differs from class to another and I think the bad outlook towards female journalist has declined nowadays due to the media time we live in. Now female journalist can prove that she is better than her counterpart as she distinguishably works sincerely and honestly. Besides, women are more sensitive, they can deal with issues with more transparency and they can depend on themselves to get the story while men start and end their stories at qat- meetings”
About the difficulties “The most common problem I face is that I cannot get the fresh news and stories instantly and easily. Our fellow men get some stories quickly not because they are better than us but because they have the news in qat meetings where important stories come from. We female journalists cannot join such meetings. On the other hand, when there is a big event such as a demonstration on the streets where sometimes accompanied with gun shooting and clashes, we find it difficult to join the crowd and take some photos as we are exposed to harassment if we do so. So regretfully we are forced to avoid such an event.”
Finally, what I can say that the way in front of Yemeni female journalists to get rid of the obstacles is still long and we, female journalists, need to be patient and do our best at the time being. We have to believe in change in tomorrow. We have to put in our mind that change cannot be in an overnight.