ISLAMABAD: In Pakistan about 60-70 percent women are still deprived of their rights as they suffer from poverty and lack of opportunities compared to other parts of the world.
This was the crux of a policy discussion forum titled'”National Media Partnership on Supporting Pakistani Women’s Empowerment”. The forum was organised by International Labour Organisation (ILO) here on Wednesday.
The forum highlighted the establishment of national media partnership is the culmination of a month-long campaign in all five provinces of Pakistan to support for the cause of educating stakeholders on gender equality in general and creating an enabling environment for working women in particular.
Adnan Rehmat, Media expert, Salman Asif, Adviser to the United Nations Female Literacy and Frida Khan, National Project Coordinator and Moneeza Hashmi, a former journalist were among the participants. They said that of the 1.3 billion people, who live in absolute poverty around the globe, 70 percent are women. For these women, poverty doesn’t just mean scarcity and want. It means rights denied, opportunities curtailed and voices silenced.
The participants said that the poverty and the lack of a modern curriculum were destabilising factors for Pakistani society that have been exploited by militant organisations banned by the government to run schools and produce militant literature.
The voluntary national partnership, which will result in exhaustive orientation and training of over 800 journalists across Pakistan over the next few months on gender sensitization and supporting an improvement in quantity and quality of reporting and portrayal of working women, was set up under the purview of a major new national project- “Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE)” funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and launched by ILO in Pakistan to promote gender equality in the world of work.
Salman Asif revealed that the media’s role in as a promoter of and partner in women’s empowerment, “The media is recognised as an important development partner and the establishment of a National Media Partnership for Women’s Empowerment today is an important step towards further strengthening this link.”
The campaign succeeded in generating acknowledgement from key mainstream and regional media houses on the need for improved and sustained coverage of issues relating to better portrayal of working women as well as supporting better working conditions for them as means of promoting gender equality in Pakistan.
Before the large array of national media representatives in Islamabad established the partnership on Tuesday through a declaration, the declaration was enthusiastically endorsed by key mainstream and regional media establishments from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh, which include TV channels, newspapers and radio stations. Senior media experts including Javed Choudhry were present at the occasion.
Introducing the GE4DE programme, ILO representative, Frida Khan said the 5-year project will, among other things, train over 5,000 women across Pakistan for employment not only in conventional skills typically considered areas of women’s expertise but also more unconventional areas in an attempt to enlarge the scope of employment opportunities for women as well as facilitating improved general perceptions about working women.
A representative of Civic Action Resources, one of the implementing partners of ILO, while introducing the media component of GE4DE programme said that the project aims to engage both media managers and media practitioners aiming at partnering up with the sector for improved coverage of working women. He said that 150 media managers will be oriented in the subject while 800 journalists will be trained across Pakistan on gender sensitisation to improve the quantity and quality of information about working women.
Rural women are working in fields along with men and doing all household work, but despite of all the sacrifices and contribution she carries no right and has no share in anything and her life remain property of men who are dominant member of society.
Women in rural areas of Pakistan are in worst condition may be there are 10 percent of women enjoying their rights
He informed that the project has developed “Journalism Plus: The GE4DE Media Training Guide”, a special resource that will be used to train a cadre of Pakistan’s first media trainers on the theme of gender issues in general and portrayal of working women in particular. The resource will also help train 800 journalists on labour standards and gender sensitive reporting especially on women and the world of work in Pakistan.
Moneeza Hashmi said that it is imperative that there be better treatment of women in the media through sound media education programmes and affirmative action. She emphasized that by revisiting the programmes and news items which portray women in either dependent roles or in negative light, the media could not only be giving women their due but also encouraging greater acceptability of working women as positive role models. She also emphasized on the need for policies within media that encourage and support affirmative action.
Source: Business Recorder