An award-winning war correspondent who has worked in some of the world’s deadliest places has attacked “chauvinistic” attitudes towards young women war reporters.
CNN presenter Nima Elbagir, who has reported from Somalia and Darfur, told XCity that the media obsession with youth and beauty demeans female journalists who risk their lives on the front line.
She took part in a debate on the risks facing women journalists earlier this month to mark the launch of a new book on safety, held at the Thomson Reuters headquarters.
Elbagir told XCity: “We don’t recognise the chauvinism that underpins most of this discussion. Why shouldn’t a woman have similar agency to a man? If she wants to put herself in a situation where her life is at risk, society is not her caretaker.
“Is the issue that you can’t be young or inoffensive to look at? If you’re a female and you’re not unattractive there are lower expectations of what you should be achieving in life,” she added.
Elbagir took part in a panel discussion of journalists chaired by BBC presenter Lyse Douchet at the launch of No Woman’s Land, a collection of stories and advice from female war correspondents published by the International News Safety Institute (INSI).
The foreign correspondent, who has won two Foreign Press Association Awards and been nominated for the Amnesty Award for Human Rights Journalism, was the only western journalist to report from Mogadishu during the US bombing of Somalia in January 2007.
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