Saudi Women Journalists:Interviewing Men is a Problem
The reason why I am running this story on my blog is not only because I want to applaud Saudi women for their courage but also I was extremely touched how I took my career achievements for granted. Working as a journalist at a certain point of my life led me to so many people and places that I have always enjoyed and thought it is a great joy to be able continuously to explore personalities and places. I never thought whom I am meeting based on their gender, color, age, nationality or race.
The case is different in Saudi Arabia and women are struggling to do their work, but I am sure if they are trying they will reach where they want one day.
I am so grateful for my parents for giving me freedom and allowing me to make my own choices in life and never making feel that something is hindering me because I am a female. I always went for what I wanted with confidence.
RIYADH (Reuters) - They are few in number but determined to make their mark -- women journalists in Saudi Arabia have fought hard to get where they are and say they have more than proved themselves the equal of men.
The kingdom is one of the most restrictive places in the world for women, where powerful clerics say a woman's place is in the home, raising a family.
Women cannot drive cars, must be accompanied in public by male relatives, and must cover themselves up in anonymous black robes lest they incite men's sexual desire.
But despite limitations on women in the workplace, many who have ventured into the media industry as Saudi Arabia opens up under King Abdullah have attracted attention for their tenacity and professionalism.
A young print journalist in the capital Riyadh, who declined to be named, said female journalists had a lot of strengths people might not appreciate. "I want to speak out," she said.
The journalist, who hails from the less restrictive Eastern Province on the Gulf coast, said her family supported her ambitions but Saudi society made it difficult to do her work.
"The problem is we don't have media departments at university for women. But you need to know how to write, and I don't have the tools," she said in an interview.
"Media means working evenings. You can't do interviews except in your office, and if you go to a hotel lobby, it's a crime," she said, recounting how a colleague was hauled off by the Saudi morality police for interviewing an unrelated man.
"You have to find safe ways. I have to be really careful. In Saudi Arabia, every one is watching you," she said.
The religious police, who believe women should cover their entire faces, can cause problems for a woman taking the pulse of public opinion on the street. Seating arrangements also separate women journalists from men at news conferences. more...
Previously: History made in Kuwait, Women go for their Rights!