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ILO to train media on gender issues

LAHORE: The International Labor Organisation plans to build capacity of 800 working journalists on gender sensitisation reporting and covering the issues concerning working women`s role in the economic development and the problems they are facing at workplaces.

“The ILO also under a project titled `Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE)` plans to train 5,000 women in Pakistan with a view to strengthening national mechanism to promote equal employment opportunities for women and to enhance skills of poor women in rural and urban areas of selected districts,” ILO National Project Coordinator Dr Frida Khan said while highlighting the salient features of the programme at a roundtable discussion with media persons here on Tuesday.

She said the project launched in association with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would help prepare media master trainers through capacity building of 800 working journalists in 39 planned training workshops titled `training of trainers` (ToTs) to be held across the country in near future. She said the media master trainers after receiving training on gender sensitisation would further build capacity of nearly 17,000 identified working journalists in the country.

Ms Khan said the project had been launched after the ILO Pakistan chapter reached up to the fact that the gender discrimination was at the lowest ebb in Pakistan in the name of false religious values and concepts.

“Through this project we believe that gender equality in the world of work is a fundamental human right, critical to social justice and is an instrument in achieving poverty alleviation,” she added.

She said the project would specifically focus on media to increase awareness through quality reporting and covering of the of gender equality in the world of work.

Ms Khan said as after devolution under 18th constitutional amendment the provinces were liable to formulate their own labour policies, the government higher-ups should involve all the stakeholders while finalising such important policies.

“We started with some small pilot projects and already we have reports of a group of women in Gwadar, who have set up their own catering business in traditional sea food. These women were reported to earn Rs1,000 per person per day. In Karachi we took some women who were working in the worst condition of sorting fish and cleaning shrimps and prawns and trained them to work in for a fish processing firm and a group of those women has been picked for further training as factory supervisers,” she said.

Eminent development and rights activist Moneeza Hashmi while giving her input in the discussion said that women themselves could do much to foster better treatment of women in the media by promoting sound media education programmes.

She said women must be enabled to play their part in the solution to the serious problems of society and of society`s future.

Punjab University`s Mass Communication Department Director Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz said the situation regarding women rights and equality was gradually getting better in Pakistan. He said the media should highlight the problems of women instead of using them only for glamour and advertisements.

Lahore College for Women University Department of Mass Communication chairperson Dr Anjum Zia appreciated the efforts of ILO and CIDA for arranging media discussion on such an important issue. She said the media should change its culture by focusing the issues relating to gender discrimination in Pakistan.

On this occasion the media persons belonging to different newspapers, TV channels and radio stations also signed a roundtable declaration in which they pledged to play a key role in empowering women by improving their public profile through a fair and representative coverage of working women.

Source: Dawn