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Women in media: The power and the struggle

अनुष्का शर्मा

Female Journalists

Each year, the Network of Women in Media (NWMI), India, holds a national meet for its members, who hail from a range of platforms in states across India.

On January 4-6, Chennai’s Anna University hosted over 100 female journalists – early-career reporters, long-time veterans of print newsrooms, old friends, new faces – for three days of discussions on “gender and media”.

Print Publications

Attendees were not limited to representatives of print publications, and they were by no means primarily from major newsrooms. 

One speaker, referring to the many challenges of a career in journalism, said journalism is becoming “a marginalised profession.”

The discussion that followed on reporting from the margins became a centrepiece for the conversations and issues raised in the conference – of how to support female journalists in their work, pay, representation, and treatment by colleagues.

The concentration of so many women journalists in one place is inspiring, a show of solidarity in and of itself, but it is also a reminder of the existing issues at hand.

Digital-print

As journalism evolves into a hybrid digital-print animal, adding information-presentation tools, and migrating to more open and inclusive platforms, acknowledgement of the same barriers – gender being one among many, including caste – needs to be key in equalising the balance of voices shaping content.

It is barely (just five per cent) higher than the figure in 2014.

Female voices in print newspapers.

Though print English dailies’ audience and breadth of reach is much smaller than that of vernacular languages, these platforms nonetheless reflect the tone of national discussions and the greater media landscape, as well as the power dynamics at play within Indian media.

The byline breakdown of the top English language media’s recently published work echoes the steadily increasing presence of women’s voices and critical discussion of gender issues in the print media.

 

 

 

 

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