Mahdia Rasa knew from a young age that she wanted to be a journalist. During her childhood in Afghanistan, she had seen foreign reporters flock there to tell the story of her homeland as troops reclaimed her country from the clutches of the Taliban. “But there is so much more to tell, and I wanted to be the one to tell it,” the 21-year-old says.
Yet she faced a deeply conservative society in which many would prefer women to stick to defined gender roles. She recalls long arguments at home after announcing her decision to pursue journalism.
“But this is what I had wanted and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to come in the way of my dreams,” Rasa says. And for the past year, she has been working as a news presenter at Zan TV, a television station run in large part by Afghan women.
But female journalists like Rasa don’t just face challenges from their families. “Apart from the usual security issues, being a woman creates additional challenges for us in journalism, and you can’t always find the support you need from co-workers,” says Freshta Mahori, who has been working in the Afghan media industry for nearly five years.
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