Particularly in the conservative societies of the Middle East, female journalists find themselves faced with unique and often daunting obstacles. Four young female journalism students from Qatar spoke of some of these problems on a recent visit to the Thomson Reuters Foundation headquarters in London.
All of them agreed with Nada Hassan Foud, who said, “The challenges are rather huge because you’re talking about a society almost allergic to cameras. You point a camera at almost anybody and they start freaking out.”
Aside from a very camera-shy culture, particularly when it comes to women, the students said people often treat them dismissively, thinking that men, not women, should be journalists. This attitude also contributes to lack of promotion opportunities within media organisations, they said.
However, almost all of the students said they are detecting positive signs of change in the attitude toward female journalists and women in general in Qatar and the region and expressed hope that it will continue.
(Text: Lisa Anderson)