From covering wars to protest movements, women journalists working in conflict zones take immense risks in the name of freedom of information. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Gender Council are putting them in the spotlight as part of its campaign around International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Ten women have been killed in the line of duty in 2022, most of them reporting from conflict zones.
Women journalists face extreme challenges while reporting on the ground, from military attacks and threats to police intimidation, surveillance and systematic gender-based violence. Their safety is regularly put at risk, and many have developed their own tactics to stay safe.
Other work-related problems arise in certain parts of the world such as the absence of work contracts or insurance, the lack of safety equipment adapted to women’s bodies and training, digital safety loopholes, and wage arrears that force many journalists to take additional risks to make ends meet.
But reporting in conflict zones and zones of tensions is also an opportunity for women journalists to make a change in the conflict’s narrative, challenge gender stereotypes and report differently. Women’s voices are crucial to get a full understanding of a story. Sometimes being a woman even becomes an asset to access certain locations and talk to sources.