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‘Female presence in Pakistani news on the up but stereotypes persist’

‘Female presence in Pakistani news on the up but stereotypes persist’

Karachi: Unlike global trends, the presence of women in Pakistani news has increased from 27 percent in 2010 to 36 percent in 2015, according to findings of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) released earlier this week.

A cause to rejoice as that may be, the research, however, also shows that despite significant increase in numbers, qualitative analyses of the news stories suggest that portrayal of women as ‘victims’, trivialisation and sexual objectification persist in the Pakistani media.

While the GMMP research initiative, considered one of the world’s largest initiative into gender portrayal in news media, shows that progress towards equality of women and men in the news media has ground to a virtual halt around the world, the scenario in Pakistan remains positive with respect to presence in news.

The global findings show that worldwide, women make up only 24 percent of the people heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly the same level found in 2010.

Women’s relative invisibility in traditional news media, the findings suggest, has crossed over into digital news delivery platforms with only 26 percent women’s presence in online news stories.

The findings also point towards the presence of a global glass ceiling for female news reporters with 37 percent of the stories attributed to women writers, the same figure as a decade ago.

Pakistan report

Coordinated by Uks Research Centre, the GMMP’s Pakistan National Report reveals that the number of female reporters in local media has increased from 11 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2015.

The major topics – classified by GMMP 2015 – that made the news were crime and violence (30 percent), politics and government (26 percent), and social and legal issues (23 percent).

As for the portrayal of women, the report points towards persisting depiction as victims, trivialisation and sexual objectification.

With only four percent of the news stories challenging gender equality issues, and none of the stories on girl-child and women’s economic participation, the report states that the media continues to ignore the realities of Pakistani women.

Online reporting trends, too, tell a similar story, as per the GMPP findings.

With members in over a 100 countries, the GMMP network includes gender and communication groups, women’s media associations, women’s grassroots groups and researchers in academia who participated in the previous GMMPs of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010.

This time around the members across the world monitored media content on March 25, 2015. The global, regional and national reports on this year’s monitoring can be found online at www.whomakesthenews.org and the national report on www.uksresearch.com.

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