Yemeni Female Journalists To be or not to be! [Archives:2003/656/Culture]

August 4 2003
Photo from archived article: photos/656/culture1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/656/culture1_1
Ahlam Nasser Mohammed Anam
Ahlam Nasser Mohammed Anam
Fahmia Al-Fotih
Until recent years there were fields that Yemeni woman could not enter and work in because they are solely confined to men.
Nursing and media for example, are among fields that just few women dared to practice armed with courage and struggled to prove themselves, as the Yemeni society found those professions requiring more contact and boldness and perceived it as hardly to accept and to see women practice them.
Nowadays, in spite of the good number of females who join information college, just a few of them can be seen as working in the field.
It is remarkable to observe that female students are few in journalism and TV and radio departments for most of them prefer studying in the public relations department at the college of information.
I went to the college of information to meet the level-4-students who were preparing for their final-year-exams. Most of them tried to avoid me and not to frankly open their hearts and answer my questions.
With much curiosity and more insistence, few agreed to answer my questions with some reservation.
Sama'a Ali Abdualkareem al-Sabahi, level 4, journalism Dept. “Among my priorities I would like to pursue my higher studies. I know it is difficult in the beginning so I will first work. I would like to work in a magazine in which I will find broad field and have time to collect stories and choose the materials I want. I don't want to work under stress of weekly or daily papers”
She said that Yemeni woman have remarkably started joining journalism field not as before.
When I asked her about whether she would give up her job to get married she answered “Marriage is not an important matter nowadays as it used to be. However, if the man whom I am going to engage to deserves the sacrifice, I will give up my work”
She commented on the level of Yemeni journalists performance “Both men and women in journalism need rehabilitation. We hope that concerned bodies will organize training courses for old and fresh journalists. Remarkably we tend to repeat ourselves. So we find the same story repeated in different papers. I think we are still far from creativity”
“I have not practiced journalism yet but I am afraid that practice may be different from the theoretical study”
About her family and society outlook to female journalists, she said, “If my family refuses my work I will not be here studying in Information College. Yemen has achieved developmental changes and I think people have changed their traditional look for the female work in media”
Awatef Abdualwahab al-Shargabi, level 4, journalism Dept, when I asked her about her priorities she directly and confidently said,” There are no priorities as I am already a journalist working for more than a paper, and in public affairs as well as trainee in TV. I cherish to work in those three fields.”
With bright-eyes look she added, “Of course I have made my mind to have MA. I look forward to being correspondent for a prominent paper. I believe as long as you are ambitious and you exert efforts and pursue your goal, sooner or later you will get it. But if we are lazy and depend on the ready piece of news, we are going to do nothing”
About the Yemeni woman journalist she said “Currently the number of females is very few and they are considered distinguished as they successfully have joined journalism. However, I have not found any one of them to be my example.”
Regarding her family and society opinion about her work as a journalist “My family has encouraged and supported me. It is true that there are some obstacles that society puts them in front of us but we have to struggle to make them inevitably change their look and get convinced. The society also likes every new and attractive thing and it is impossible to prevent gossips. However, it is noteworthy that society will admire you and your job especially if you are a girl”
She said strongly “I can never give up my work to get married and when I am going to engage I will choose an appropriate person who supports me in my work not the contrary. I would not accept him to let me down and degrade my work”
About the insufficient topics in Yemeni press, she disagreeably said “The Yemeni environment is full with topics and ideas, even in an hour more than an idea and a story could come to your mind. I hate that a woman journalist should only focus on feminine issues and the man should focus on masculine concerns. All the topics tackle both concerns, for example; when we write about divorce we have to write this subject as related to both men and women.”

Ahlam Nasser Mohammed Anam, level 4, journalism Dept. optimistically said, “After graduation I would like to study MA and come back to the college to teach. I like to work in a magazine rather than in a paper particularly in editing. I hate the papers and I like the colors and creativity. I believe that if you are creative and studious, you will not only have a job but the people will look for you”
Regarding the Yemeni female journalist she smilingly said “Nowadays there are no prominent female figures in journalism. We heard some names but there is no one at the standard we look for. Just wait for us and we are going to be the names”
About what her family and society think about her job “First my family has been encouraging me. So as long as my family is convinced bout my work I don't care about the society. It is true there is bad treatment and disgusting-like look at us as female journalists on the streets. I remember that once I was taking photographs all people on the streets stood with blink-eyes as if I was doing something wrong and or came from another planet. Meanwhile it is different when we go to some places where educated and understanding people, we feel that they respect us and appreciate our job” she continuously smiling.
About the marrying issue she seriously said “I cannot give up my job to get married. Basically why I have studied? I have not studied all these years to stay at home. No of course, I will let him work with me.”
She advised all her follows “You have to run after the story and invent and produce it. Stories are spread everywhere”

Mona Abduallah al-Tashi, level 4 TV and Radio “One of my priorities is to work first and then to pursue the higher studies. I would like to work in TV where I feel that I can be creative. About finding a job, it depends on how my desire to get the job and how much I am enthusiast to have a job. So if you have a will, there is a way.” She said quietly.
About the family and society opinion about her job “My family of course agrees on my work and they have given me a personal freedom from the beginning to choose my career. I have not worked in the field yet to know the difficulties that female journalists face”
About if she is going to give her job to get married she shyly and concisely said, “It depends on the circumstances then”
She continued commenting on the Yemeni press “The level of both sexes has not reached the stage we all expect. However, I think that Yemeni female journalists have started drawing their own image in the journalism field that will honor the Yemeni woman.”
She concluded, “The Yemeni journalism is still under man control and any impediments females face are made by a man.”
In fact, I enjoyed talking to those ambitious girls that considered a bright example to the next youth generation.
I left them and the smile drawn on their innocent faces. They optimistically look for bright future. But do they know what kind of future will be?