Barbara Walters is known for being one of the most seasoned interviewers in broadcast journalism, but when she entered the field more than 50 years ago, it was a man's world. As Walters worked to make a name for herself, she discovered what an uphill battle it was for female journalists in the male-dominated industry. She shares her brutally honest experiences in the above video from "Oprah's Master Class."
For example, Walters says, it's no secret that she "had difficulty" with fellow journalist Peter Jennings. Though she has incredible respect for the late broadcaster -- "He could write like a dream; he was such a superb newsman." -- Walters says she still struggled with her treatment at the news desk.
"He would cut me off, he would never say 'thank you' or 'that's interesting,'" she says. "We all sort of took it for granted. I don't want to put Peter down; it's the way it was thought of then."
At the time, people within the industry weren't the only ones who seemed unaccepting of a female journalist delivering hard-hitting news stories. Public perception and audience sentiment were also dismissive.
"The so-called hard news, a woman couldn't do it. The audience wouldn't accept her voice," Walters says. "She couldn't go into the war zones, she couldn't ask the tough questions."
And yet, that's exactly what Walters did. Although she was simply doing her job, the manner in which she did it stirred up controversy.
"Some people admired it. Others said, 'She's rude,'" Walters says. "On the one hand, it made me more valuable; on the other hand, I got the reputation as being a pushy cookie. 'There goes that pushy cookie.'"
The double standard was clear. "If I said to a politician, 'Yes, but you didn't answer my question,' it sounded terrible," Walters says. "If a man said it, it didn't sound terrible."
At 85 and now retired, Walters adds that times have since changed. Still, she has an important message for other aspiring female journalists who continue to find themselves in similar positions.
"This is what I tell, especially, young women," Walters says." "Fight the big fights. Don't fight the little fights, if you don't get all the lines, if you're not where you should be. Be the first one in. Be the last one out. Do your homework. Choose your battles. Don't whine, and don't be the one who complains about everything. Fight the big fights."
"Oprah's Master Class" returns for its fifth season on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. ET. Upcoming masters include Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Duvall, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Smokey Robinson, Jeff Bridges, James Taylor and Patti LaBelle.
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