KARACHI: Speakers at a workshop held March 29, deplored that women had been deprived of many rights guaranteed under the Constitution and religion owing to socio-cultural traditions.
The two-day workshop on Gender Sensitization has been organized jointly by the Federal Women Development Ministry and an NGO, Integrated Research and Development Organization (IRDO). More than 50 delegates representing various NGOs from across the province have been participating in the workshop.
MPAs Fariha Razaq Haroon, Shazia Marri, Rani Ambareen Jan and Dr Hameeda Khuhro; the IRDO’s Aijaz Ahmad and Malik Meraj-ud-Din; facilitators from the Aga Khan University Dr Rashida Qureshi and Nayab A. Azizi; were prominent among those who spoke on the first day.
The speakers were of the view that women had proved that they were in no way inferior than their male counterparts in any field wherever equal opportunities were provided to them. They especially referred to the results of various higher education examinations, saying that girls usually clinched top positions very often.
They observed that a country could not progress in real terms if half of its population was kept out of economic activities. While appreciating the government for its commitment to improve woman’s status in society, they stressed on taking time before the ruling class changed its mindset on the subject.
They explained the difference between gender and sex, saying that ‘gender’ meant the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities assigned to women and men in a given culture and location. The roles, they added, could change with passage of time. However, ‘sex’ is a biological difference between men and women. The difference is universal, obvious and generally permanent.
Indicating that mother appeared the first learning institution for a child, they urged mothers to ensure that they did not give any preferential treatment to their children on the basis of their sex.
One of the speakers gave a word to each letter of the word ‘gender’ – Give Equal Nutrition, Devotion, Education and Responsibility to men and women.
The workshop organizers pointed out that the gender sensitization syllabus had been prepared by the United Nations and the government had asked some NGOs to hold training workshops for the representatives of the civil society throughout the country for awareness on gender issues and on how these could be addressed effectively to bring about a change (improvement) in society.