A few years back while counseling a friend of mine, a victim of domestic abuse, I was taken back when she blurted out suddenly “why don’t you write about it”. She was fully aware that this was not going to change her situation in any way still she wanted me to do it. It was more about voice oneself. She wanted me to be her voice.
I understood her more clearly when I joined Pulsewire where I was overwhelmed by the voices of scores of women. They were speaking not only for themselves but also on behalf of many of their kind. The treasure of women that I found in Pulsewire bubbling with ideas and thoughts made me want to reach out to more of them at my place and at Pulsewire too.
This wasn’t always so. After passing out from the Journalism School I tried to stay away from the women issues. There were mainly two reasons. For one I was afraid of being labeled as a writer of women issues. Two, the first thing the people I worked with suggested was women issues (they were all men). I was afraid of being considered incapable of handling other issues and their suggestion reinforced my fear.
But then a time came when I made up a mind of my own. I understood no one can do it better. A woman can be best understood by a woman. So I joined WINGS, an organization of women radio producers whose focus is “Raising Women’s Voices through Radio Worldwide”. I also got the Sanjay Ghose Media Fellowship: 2008-09 for which I did a series of articles on Kashmiri Women “Setting Examples amidst conflict”. I tried to bring out the stories of women in Kashmir to a wider audience. I started working for a few women’s news organization. I was also awarded the UNFA Laadli Media Award 2009-10 for gender sensitive reporting. I was selected for the Voices of Our Future Correspondents 2009 programme of World Pulse where I learnt a lot about how to use my voice and resources to make an impact.
What I have also learnt so far is that it isn’t so easy particularly in our culture to express oneself freely. It can get quite difficult at times but is not impossible though. One wonders how despite education and success women are still afraid to come out. How could one explain the helplessness of a young educated working girl who is at the mercy of her abusive husband. The place I belong to is a conflict region making the women more vulnerable.
I want to represent the women of my place who have been battling daily for their existence. On my part as a journo I have been trying to bring forth the voices of these women. As a Board member I will like these women to tell their own stories, not only tell but also act, not only act but succeed. I have been particularly awed by the women of Africa whose stories have made me feel like ‘taking a bow. As a Board member I want to see more and more such stories coming from my place. I would also like more and more interaction between the women of different countries on Pulsewire. With all the differences we still have so much in common. There is so much we can learn from each other and there is so much we can achieve together. A wonderful exchange of ideas and resources can lead to some impact in the lives of both. There are so many things that cropped up in my mind after joining Pulsewire like, What am I doing? Where am I going? And what possibly could I do? I would like more and more women to start pondering on that.
The simple joy of being HEARD can change so much in one’s life and as a Board member I will act as a facilitator not only with the women of my region but for women from every corner of the world.
I know this is a great responsibility to shoulder but I assure I am going to give it my best shot.