The women journalists of Chennai have come together to launch a forum, the Network of Women (in media), Chennai, or NOW in short.The effort to form this group has been on for some time, but, for various reasons, did not bear fruit till now. The forum has defined its objectives and listed its plans in a document, which we are reproducing below:
Why the forum?
It is born out of a need to bond with, encourage and support women who have chosen a career in journalism. It is also to address a need to secure for women journalists a rightful space in the existing media forums and ensure that our collective voices are heard —loud and clear.
What are our goals?
- Establish a network, support-base for women professionals in the press, television and Internet media in Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai.
- Promote cooperation among women journalists across the country.
- Find representation for women in the existing media forums.
- Debate common professional problems, including gender issues and even sexual harassment cases and collectively evolve solutions.
- Enhance their professional expertise and perspectives, equip them to reach key positions in media organizations.
- Influence media, public and government opinion on gender issues.
- Building a database on media and gender issues.
- Raise ethical and social consciousness among media professionals.
- Offer recreation for members.
Who are our members?
Any woman journalist in Chennai —reporter, correspondent, sub-editor, broadcast producers, editorial writer, feature writer, freelancer, cameraperson or photographer —can become a member of the forum, paying an initial fee of Rs.100 and a monthly fee of Rs 25.
How do we function?
Initially, the forum will be an informal arrangement and in a few months as the commitment of the members grows, it will be registered under the Societies Act. It will be a strictly apolitical and non-profit organisation working for the welfare of women journalists, and women at large.
What is our action-plan?
- Create an e-network of women journalists in Chennai.
- Create a home-site of the forum. (a trial one has been set up: http://mediawag.u-update.biz/default.asp?owner=yes)
- Meet at least once in a month to discuss professional issues and political, international and economic developments.
- Conduct seminars once in three months on gender or media-related issues.
- Conduct training programmes for women journalists once a year.
- Provide an interactive point for employment opportunities and freelance news assignments.
- Take up an intensive field study of a key issue concerning women in Tamil Nadu.
- Start a library for the forum members.
- Bring out a half-yearly newsletter on our activities.
- Organise sports events, trekking, picnics and study tours at least twice a year.
- Reach out to victims at times of natural calamities.
- Support social causes such as campaigns for literacy, gender and social justice.
Our first, small steps
- Organise an open-house of women journalists by the last week of September or first week of October.
- Follow it up with a seminar on a topical issue in mid-October.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.