Australian Women War Reporters
Boer War to Vietnam
By Jeannine Baker
Published by New South
RRP $39.99 in paperback; 272pp
This book has attracted more publicity than most military history releases of recent months.
Sarah Dempster reviewed the book for The Australian (Review, 21-22 Nov 2015), Helen Vatsikopoulos for The Sydney Morning Herald, (Spectrum, 5-6 Dec 2015) and Phillip Adams devoted a program to Australian women war reporters on his Late Night Live program on Radio National on 18 November 2015 – link here – but be aware, this link is going to expire in less than a week.
Women war reporters have encountered the predictable road blocks on their chosen career path. Inevitably, if permitted to report, they were directed to write from the ‘women’s angle’.
As Baker writes, this book charts the emergence of the Australian woman war reporter, her rise to prominence in World War II, and her growing acceptance following the Vietnam War. In essence, this is the story of the women who paved the way for the opportunity that women journalists have today.
And yet women journalists continue to expose themselves to the additional risk of sexual violence in dangerous environments in places where women are not respected, for fear their bosses will see their gender as a liability and they won’t be sent on the plum assignments.
As well known ABC reporter Sally Sara says: ‘women reporters want to be judged on the basis of their professionalism, not their gender’. Amen to that, says my wife.
For anyone interested in war reporting and journalism, this could be a book for your Santa list.