JULY 31, 2017
by Mary Joseph
I wanted to be a physician… then I wanted to be a physiotherapist… then a pharmacist… Instead, I became a journalist. It’s a career that – despite its pressures and dangers – is still attractive to young graduate girls and women in my home country of Egypt. But I’ll come back to that in a minute.
To work or not to work: that was never a question for me. I grew up in a family where all my female cousins and relatives received higher education and joined the workforce.
For me, the question was which career to choose. I opted for one un-trodden by any of my family members: journalism.
But the cultural backgrounds are very different and the contrasts are not simple. Although women in Egypt are often unjustly treated in the work field, they still constitute a large part of the workforce, be it banks, government offices, hospitality, call centers, and even high-profile government ministries.
The majority of my journalism classes were female. In my current work, women in the office outnumber their male counterparts.
A rising force
The presence of women in the media field is rising. They’re not just presenters or the faces of popular channels but taking more senior roles producers and field journalists.
The tradition of a male-dominated media field is diminishing. As social media has become an essential aspect in reporting, and high-tech, light-weight equipment is now available to all, female journalists are seizing new opportunities. It’s their time now to rise and show themselves and that’s what they are doing.
The media field in Egypt isn’t guaranteed and doesn’t provide safety training. For women journalists to persist in the field, they need a lot of support from their editors and institutions – something which is not even available in more secure jobs.
SAT-7 Arabic Communications Officer | Mary Joseph is SAT-7’s Egypt Communications Officer and is based in Cairo. She has lived in Egypt and Australia and worked as a journalist in secular and religious media. Her passions are reading, writing, travelling and photography.