Voice of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Friday, October 7, 2022

Bannu’s First-ever woman journalist breaking stereotypes

Pakistan is one of those countries, where women still face many problems in their respective professional fields as well as domestic life.

Women face domestic violence, emotional abuse, forced marriages and sexual harassment; menaces that hinder their participation in mainstream society. Apart from these challenges, women in Pakistan also struggle for access to transportation and jobs in the private and government sector.However, the time is changing and a more conducive environment now is helping Pakistani women excel in even male-dominated fields.

Mehreen Khalid, The first-ever female journalist from Bannu is one such example that is breaking the stereotypes in man dominant field and society. Despite all these serious social and domestic barriers, there are many women fighting against discrimination and are striving to change the horrific norms of the society.

Mehreen Khalid, a young journalist from the Bannu district of KP, defied the odds to pursue a career in journalism – a field which is considered unsuitable for women among her community. She is pursuing a Masters in journalism from Gomal University and working as a voice over artist and reporter in a local digital media organisation.

Mehreen Khalida belongs to a conservative community where women are told to stay at home and do the household chores. She broke stereotypes by pursuing her passion and adopting journalism as career, a field seen as male-dominated in the region. While talking to Voice of KP, Mehreen Khalid said that opting journalism as a field and career for a girl like her was a big challenge as girls in her hometown have never been allowed to colleges even due to the man dominant social structure of society.

Mehreen said that she had a dream to work for the voiceless people since her childhood; saying that accepting all the challenges and threats she took the decision and selected journalism as a field with a hope to help and support those those whose voices were lost. About the attitude of the people towards her she said that many from her hometown and other tribal areas applauded her struggle and step for adopting journalism as a career She said that many in her village have asked her father to stop her from going to university as they considered her as a threat for the other girls of village.

“They think I will encourage and brainwash other girls of the village to go to university or college for education”, said Mehreen. About the family support, she said that her father was the only person who supported her and let her fly instead of clipping her wings. She many relatives pressured her father not to let his daughter get education or adopt Journalism as a career, but he did not bother anyone and kept me supporting until now, Mehreen said.

Mehreen Khalid concluded that she was the only girl in her class and she had concealed this from her family and other relatives, as she feared that it could stop her education in the university.

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