PESHAWAR: Speakers at a workshop stressed on the need of engaging womenfolk in the electoral process and urged the government to take action against those political parties who stopped women from contesting election and casting votes.
The one-day workshop entitled “Media portrayal of women participation in the political process” was organized here on March 13, 2004, by Aks Research Center and UNDP for the media persons.
Representatives from the provincial election commission who were also present said that if the women did not come out from the houses to cast vote the commission could not do anything about it.
Ms. Tasneem Ahmar, coordinator of Aks, said that journalists could play a very effective role in portrayal of women participation in the political process and create awareness about the importance of women in the political process.
The role of press and electronic media is very significant in mobilizing public opinion and shaping of attitudes, Miss Riffat, another participant said.
The participants said that press and electronic media had been portraying topics related to women and the portrayal was always in a positive manner. However, it was stressed that the attitude of the society towards women was overall still conservative and women were not empowered politically or socially.
The participants in an open discussion acknowledged that our society was conservative and has double standards. Women were deprived of their due representation in every walk of life and even literate segments of the society were not educated and their attitude needed to be changed.
The political participation of men in elections was not up to the mark as most male voters didn’t vote because they were disillusioned so the political participation of women in the elections was out of question in many urban and rural areas, Mr. Tariq, a journalist said.