Due to a universal norm of patriarchy, women face restrictions and discrimination in the work force. The field of journalism holds no exception. Jeremy Scahill, an investigative reporter recently returned from war zone Afghanistan. He spoke of his experiences and the peril he faced as a journalist to uncover the truth. Mesmerized by his speech, a thought lingered in the back of my head: a female journalist would not have the same opportunity without a greater risk of safety.
However, in the past, these societal norms have been crossed and social justice has occurred with the work of a female journalist. Nellie Bly, a famous muckraker,brought to the surface many injustices and shared the plight of the oppressed in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her most famous investigations involved the treatment of the institutionalized mentally ill and the Pullman Railroad strike. Her reports led to significant social reform.
There are obviously greater risks for women reporters in specific geographical locations. Among these is the Middle East and Afghanistan. Discrimination against female journalists doesn’t always take the form of violence. Subtle discrimination can be found in the newsroom as well.
The role of the female journalist is ultimately left up to her. She can accept the unjust circumstances, weigh the risk, and take the initiative. As Nellie Bly once said,
“Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything. “
What precautions or directions can be taken to make the journalism field more safe and opportunistic for female reporters?