On the occasion of Women's Day, 8 March, the Pune group got together at a meeting jointly organised by the Study Group of Patrakar Sangh and women journalists in the city. Our discussion focused on what problems women reporters face, their experiences, and the atmosphere in the workplace. As the study group was involved, male journalists were also present.
One reporter said an organiser of an event once hesitated to give her a press release and asked if a male reporter was around. Another observed that the person talking to her on the telephone refused to believe she was in the editorial department and insisted she pass the call on to somebody else. Such incidents, it was agreed, happened generally in smaller newspapers.
There were more serious allegations. One reporter said that when she was a trainee most of the important assignments went to male trainees. A male news coordinator who was present said that such a situation would never arise in the paper he worked for and a woman reporter from the same paper agreed with him.
During night shifts, one reporter said she found the atmosphere somewhat uncomfortable. Some male journalists admitted that whenever a new girl joins the group their instinct is to believe she will be unprofessional and not sincere enough. However they insisted that once she had 'proved' herself she was respected.
Overall the discussion was lively and friendly. Our next meeting will be on 27 March when we will be discussing the coverage of elections.