Gender Discrimination Continues in PCHGender Discrimination Continues in PCH

Without notice, Press Club cancelled regular memberships of 29 women journalists


The gender discrimination controversy surrounding Press Club of Hyderabad (PCH) has more to it than meets the eye as it has now emerged that senior journalist Padma Vangapally was not alone in facing humiliation.


There are now stories doing rounds among journalistic fraternity as to how the PCH shunted 29 women journalists including two other senior women journalists – Udayalakshmi and Rajeshwari – from regular memberships despite having decades of professional experience in the field.


In fact, the two senior women journalists said to have a collective experience of 50 years in the profession.


“Not just these two, but the other 27 women journalists were not even informed that their regular memberships (RMs) are being downgraded to associate memberships (ASMs) ie into temporary ones. How can such a decision be taken outrightly taken without even issuing them a prior notice,” asked said C Vanaja, member of Network of Women in Media.


What’s more ironic was that the two journalists — Udayalakshmi and Rajeshwari — were feted by PCH on Women’s Day on March 8, 2017 for their long-standing stint in the profession but the new office bearers thought otherwise while downgrading their regular membership.


Sources told that as on May-2016, there were 50 women journalists holding regular membership but in the name of so called review by the new PCH body, membership of 29 women journalists were converted into ASMs ie temporary ones.


Gender bias is total


For decades, the gender discrimination prevailing against women journalists in PCH can be gauged by the fact that as against 421 male journalists admitted in 2016 with regular membership, only 21 women journalists (4.98%) could enter into this male dominated club.


This despite the fact that 150 women journalists did apply for regular memberships that year but the PCH allowed 21 of them to be in the final list, said sources.


Worse, the new PCH body that took over recently, did not even spare women journalists with even five years experience before cancelling their regular memberships.


“This is totally unjust as several male non-journalists with 2-3 years of experience are availing regular PCH membership but the same is denied to women journalists with up to five years experience,” rued a member.


Fight for justice


Meanwhile, at a meeting of PCH women journalists on Thursday, it was unanimously decided that they must fight out the issue to ensure that justice is seen to be done.


“We will exhaust all options including legal to fight this gender discrimination in PCH,” said C Vanaja, without revealing their plan of action.