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‘Traditions, cultural norms root causes of gender disparity’

Participants at the awareness workshop underlined that traditions and cultural norms are the root causes behind gender disparity, depriving women from political, constitutional and empowerment rights in society. They stressed the need for serious efforts to end gender inequality and to provide equal rights for women to enable them to contribute to the economic development of the country.

The day-long “Media Sensitisation Workshop on Women Issues” was organised by Aware Girl, a non-governmental organisation here at a local hotel on Friday. More than 25 participants from the print and electronic media organisations, and representatives of non-governmental organisations participated.

On the occasion, the Aware Girl, Chairperson Gulalai Islmail, Executive Director Saba Islmail, Program Director, Leema Khan and members of the organisation were present. The Chairperson, Ms Gulalai highlighted the basic aims of the awareness workshop, and said that the organisation was actively working for the empowerment of young women through advocacy and capacity building to enable them to become agents of change and empowerment in society.

The Chairperson, Gulalai Islmail delivered a comprehensive lecture on “Gender Equity and Equality”, and said that women face a number of challenges because of the lack of empowerment and adequate resources. She said that the primitive culture and traditions of society suppressed women’s legitimate and constitutional rights. Though, she said that industrialisation had played a vital role to some extent, to give due rights to women, but more was needed for their empowerment. “Gender disparity could only be removed by the provision of equal opportunities, quotas, and by empowering women in decision making,” she suggested.

Leema Khan, Program Director, in her presentation on “Women Politics, issues and the way forward”, said that women were not empowered economically and socially due to the absence of the required measures at the government level. She said that unequal distribution of resources and access to resources were the main reasons behind growing women gender disparity in society. Lack of support from elected male representatives in the parliament had led to a number of bills to be deferred in the National and provincial assemblies, she said.

Similarly, Ms Leema said that traditional, and cultural norms, and the feudal system were another great impediment for the empowerment of women, and women were not aware about their constitutional and legitimate rights, because of the low literacy rate amongst women.

Ms Leema said that the women were not contributing their share to the national economy because of domestic restrictions and other hurdles. During the group-work, the participants also stressed the need for highlighting the issues facing women in attaining their political, constitutional and legal rights. She concluded that the media should play its active role and highlight the problems of women.

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