By Flah Loubna
By Flah Loubna
Morocco World News
Casablanca, March 28, 2012
According to the Moroccan weekly L’Observateur du Maroc, the Network of Women Journalists in Morocco (NWJM) was officially launched earlier this month. The event was celebrated during a ceremony in Mazagan Beach Resort [near El Jadida].
The idea has been brewing for more than four months. It could not see the light until March 2011, subsequent to an event organized by the International Media Support in Copenhagen under the theme “Excellence in Journalism”.
Khadija Alaoui, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Famille Actuelle” and a member of the MWJN pinpoints that her meeting with Danish leading female journalists and members of a Danish association dubbed K2 was a shifting point. It has, indeed, instilled in her the will and the audacity to launch the Network for Women Journalists in Morocco.
The NWJM capitalizes on the democratic overture that lays the ground for more extended emancipation for women. Presumably, new future prospects for women lie in the broad spectrum under the new constitution.
Nevertheless, Khadij Smiri, a founding member of this juvenile network, asserts that this mood of democratization should not be misleading. She frankly asserts that “it seems the air of change did not blow in the direction of Morocco’s news rooms, which remain anchored in chauvinistic practices.”
Indeed, in the Moroccan press, women are seldom appointed in high positions.
Ms. Smirk asserts “when it comes to choose an editor-in-chief, you can be sure that it is going to be a man in first place, regardless of the presence of seasoned women journalist around.”
The NWJM envisions to upgrade the status of Moroccan women journalists and to lobby for their presence in the highest levels of hierarchy in the media sector.
Members enunciate that discrimination against women journalists is still prevailing and they intend to aggregate their efforts to redress the situation in favor of more gender equity.
Though, the popular representation of the “intrepid journalist” covering a journalistic scoop in the midst of chaos has been promoted in cinema and literature, the situation on the ground is less auspicious for women journalists.
Sexual harassment is a real impediment to their professional development especially in a career that relies mainly on connections and the ability to find contacts and sources of information.
Women are often intimidated by inappropriate sexual advances in exchange of rewards.
On the other hand, discrimination at workplace is a real brake on women journalists’ professional progress. In fact, the highest echelons of media institutions are almost exclusively filled by men.
Thus, the paucity of women in top editorial jobs is a harbinger of failure to adhere to equity credentials provisioned in the new constitution.
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