WOW | Coffee Break

Women in media

Babita Basnet
President, Media Advocacy Group (MAG)

What made you venture into media?

I used to teach in school and the thought of the media never crossed my mind. But entering a career in 1990 I somehow happened to join Nepali Patra Saptahik. After experiencing both the challenges and opportunities, I realised my passion for journalism.

How seriously do you think women are taken in media?

There are quite a lot of women who are involved in Nepali media. Almost 25% of the industry is dominated by women, but amongst them, not all are driven by passion, there are many who are there just for the name and fame. For them, media is just a ladder to get into their purposed field. Because of such people, at times women are not taken very seriously in the media. But again, there are those who are very serious about their profession and have done a remarkable job in the country. In fact, some of the journalists have even made a name for themselves in the international media.

Do you think women still face discrimination in the media?

Although personally, I have not encountered any kind of discrimination, I have come to notice that female journalists are rarely offered the hard beat. Even after spending years in the field they are still doing soft stories. Also, the odd and uncertain working hours and maternity leave have definitely discouraged many women journalists from continuing work. I believe it is the work environment and attitude of the colleagues that determine gender discrimination in organisations.

What message would you give newcomers in this field?

This profession focuses on knowledge and interaction. It gives you a platform to introduce yourself and share your opinion with the world. You do get a lot of recognition. However, you need to work diligently and be courageous to be successful.