“Now girls will also carry cameras on their shoulders and report.” This phrase echoed during my fieldwork for a story. Just as there are challenges against women in various aspects of life, journalism is no exception. These challenges are more prevalent in the journalistic world.

A woman’s safety seems to be at stake everywhere. Her role is scrutinized in every context, often unfairly. It’s as if men have no part in societal issues, and all blame is pinned on women.

Setting aside the gender debate, let’s delve into the central theme of my blog today. Before I proceed, let me clarify that if there were no word limit, I’d delve deeper into this topic. Female journalists face unwarranted judgments regularly. Society often perceives them as culprits, questioning their morality merely because they work in the media. A female journalist is deemed morally questionable, independent, outspoken, and often labeled with a wrong character and negative thinking.

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It’s disheartening how society clings to these misconceptions. When a male journalist takes the mic and camera, delivering a commendable report, he receives praise like “Well done, great!” and “Excellent, we are proud of you.” However, if a female journalist achieves the same, she’s labeled as “ill-charactered.” Critics question why she’s not ashamed of standing among so many men to report.

My question is, why aren’t those passing such judgments ashamed of themselves? Why tarnish the image of a brave, hardworking, and self-confident female journalist as characterless and shameless? Reporting events, while standing among men, is challenging, especially for a woman who not only has to deliver quality work but also navigate through people’s judgmental looks.

This issue persists nationwide but is most pronounced in our Pakhtun belt, where it’s exceptionally challenging for a woman to venture out and work in the media. Being a woman journalist is not synonymous with a flawed character, so why perpetuate this misguided thinking?

Why cast doubt on the integrity of a female journalist? Why misrepresent her independence and bravery? If her parents have faith in her abilities, and she’s allowed to pursue her career, who is society to impose restrictions? It’s time to dispel these misconceptions, support women, and acknowledge their valuable contributions.