The NWMI is an informal collective that emerged through a long, slow, participatory, bottom-up process of network building that took forward earlier initiatives by media women in different parts of India: in Bangalore (November 2000), Jaipur (March 2001) and Shillong (September 2001).
Several local networks came into being as a result of the regional meetings; journalists from Bihar who had attended the Jaipur meeting went back and organised a large state-level meeting of women journalists a few months later. The NWMI was collectively conceptualised, unanimously endorsed and formally launched on 30 January 2002 in New Delhi.
Both the national and the local media women’s networks aim to fulfil multiple objectives, both professional and societal. Apart from their obvious function as a forum for addressing issues related to the media as a workplace, they facilitate career advancement through the sharing of valuable information, contacts, tips and leads, as well as mentoring. In a competitive and increasingly cut-throat professional world, the network offers solidarity and support, recognising achievements of fellow members, sympathising with those who have had bad experiences and helping them overcome difficulties. The solidarity the network provides to independent freelance journalists with no fixed workplace, is particularly significant.