WOW | Coffee Break

Women in media

Kalpana Bhandari (Media Personality)

What made you join the media field?

I remember all my relatives, and people from the village gathering at home to watch television. I used to imagine how I would look on screen. While doing my bachelors, I started looking for opportunities to step into the field and eventually I got the job of programme presenter. I continued my studies and finished my Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism. When I look back, I feel this is the only job I could do my best.

What is a media career like for women?

Personally, I believe media is a good platform for those who have the courage to fight against the odds and change societal misconceptions. In the initial stages of my career, there were very few women in media. Now it is amazing to see the influx of women journalists. Women are no longer just showpieces on television, now they report on major political, social and economic events.

However, we still need to do a lot to bring changes as discrimination still exits. For instance, I feel there are only a handful of women journalists in the country. Overall, disparity applies to salary and position. I used to feel discriminated in terms of assignments and responsibility given. There is a misjudgement that women can’t do difficult and investigative reporting. This has me realise that women always need to prove their capabilities to get work, but for men, their gender is just enough. As a woman you need to run an extra mile in the race compared to men.

One unforgettable moment in your career

It was during April 2015, when the earthquake hit Kathmandu. I was on air reading the news. Suddenly I felt the shake and saw the lights of the studio hysterically swinging. The people in the MCR and the cameraperson immediately ran away. Though I was scared, I felt that I should not shy away from my duty and continued to give information to the audience.

Soon the producer and all team members supported me with updates. This was the time I realised that as soon as I face the camera and turn on my microphone, nothing else matters, but delivering my best

What message would you give to newcomers who want to venture into this field?

Every profession has its benefits and challenges. It all depends on how you handle the situation. In this field, sometimes you need to make compromises when it comes to salary, working hours, et cetera. But if you are willing to work hard, you won’t be disappointed. You need to keep in mind not to be aggressive, reactive, or arrogant. You also have to constantly update yourself with urrent affairs. This is the profession where you have to encounter criticism, intimidation and a lot of misunderstandings. Just believe in yourself and be confident and think about your long-term goal. Most importantly do not be tempted to use this profession for other motives.