WIJ Host Women of Colour lunch

By Anila Baig

10 May 2017

WORKING from home in Bradford I tend to feel isolated and anti-social so it was great to attend a networking event hosted by Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Women in Journalism.

Meeting fellow journalists from the same field reminded me that I am part of a wider community.

Women of Colour makes us sound like a new make-up campaign but I was surprised to hear that so many of us share the same stories- when we wrote our first pieces, tales of work experience, the first death knocks and then the path to national newspapers.

We have worked on different publications with different political leanings but we hold the same belief that at times we are representing our communities and other times we just want to write a damn good story.

When I started out I faced family opposition and was told it was not a suitable job for a woman.

Last week I bumped into an old contact, a devout Muslim with a long beard, who told me gleefully that his daughter was studying to be a journalist. Times have changed.

From a personal perspective I’m not saying I have smashed any glass ceilings but maybe I’ve broken a few windows.

Nowadays there are lots of programmes to support ethnic minorities to get a start in journalism. But what if you don’t need a leg up or a foot in the door? Sometimes, despite decades writing, I can feel as if I am out on a limb.

At the end of the day we can write about religion, culture, race, but we are so much more than that. We are not one trick ponies.

We may be birds of a feather but we really don’t want to be pigeonholed.

Left wing, right wing we just want to be able to spread our wings and write regardless of our colour and background.