“As we all know Pakistan currently ranks the second lowest country in the world for gender equality, we all belongs from a different society some have freedom some stay reserved but there is another society which is stereotype, they still believe spending money on girls’ education is a waste of money”, said Dr. Nida Hussain, Pro-chancellor, Ziauddin University.

She was sharing her views as a keynote speaker in the 9th interactive series ZU Dialogues, titled “Mainstreaming Gender Inclusiveness in our Society” organized by Ziauddin University, here, today.

The purpose of the 9th interactive series of ZU Dialogues, titled “Mainstreaming Gender Inclusiveness in our Society” was to get an opinion and analysis of the experts about the discrimination of professional development, leadership opportunities, and other professional hazards are some of the additional barriers towards gender equality and women empowerment.

In her speech Dr. Nida Hussain discussed gender inequality by saying “by living in Islamic Republic of Pakistan our religion gives us a lot of freedom and respect but our society doesn’t. Women are bullied, discriminated against and arrested, physically attacked and killed, it’s impossible that we don’t talk about racism, forced marriage the only thing they want is to make their own choices about their bodies and the way they live their lives”, she further added.

While talking during panel discussion, Prof. Dr. Khalida Ghaus, Director, Board of Institute for Policy Reforms said that the time has changed, it’s the 21st century where we believe inequality. The women are multi-tasking, they can manage home and also can manage their jobs. The poverty should be ended. There is a time where one family member is earning and seven people are eating, now it’s time to share the house chores with both partners.

On how much lack of female facilities we have in our country and what actually is inclusiveness, Prof. Dr. Khalida Ghaus says “there are some bitter and traditional issues, we can talk about harassment of the females in short we can talk about a number of issues. There are 67 percent of females in urban areas of Pakistan, 67 percent of female population constitutes the employment in the informal sector. This is not just the whole percentage but this is the sector which goes totally unmonitored. When we talk about gender mainstreaming, gender inclusive in our society, it is affected by so many new phenomena, religious extremism, conflicts, militancy etc. have you ever considered the impact of all these things”, she further added.

Discussing about that the female should get equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities in this society Dr. Seemin Jamali, Former Executive Director, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) convey her message to the audience “religion gives us the right to work but with dignity and with modesty, I believe that women should do job. Even Islam gives us the right to all women to work the way the want to. First of all, we have to improve, the downside in our country is that education is unfortunately not getting any importance in our country. Education not only teaches you or guides you, it also reforms us in every way”.

Misbah Ishak Khalid, Senior Vice President, Women Chamber of Commerce & Industries share her experience of being a working woman “I’ve been in media field for 30 years, it wasn’t that easy for me to handle both work and home together but I did somehow, women can manage her job and also manage her family at once. Getting confidence in our life is very important as we belong to a privileged family. We should take our decision and make ourselves proven to the society, confidence makes you a better person”.

Najia Ashar, Founder/President, Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation elaborated why in local dramas we are portraying women being independent can live separate from her husband “we all agree that the media can shape cultural perceptions and attitude towards gender for better or worse. In this digital era media is producing some of the content that breaks stereotypes. it depends on the audience how you take it. There can be disputes on controversies in television dramas. The content they are producing depends on how you absorb it. If a drama is portraying women as independent it totally doesn’t mean that men get insecurities, as we women are sitting in a position where our men support us. The dramas aren’t portraying anything wrong, it’s just the viewer’s perception.”

In his concluding remarks, Prof. Dr. Syed Irfan Hyder, Vice Chancellor of Ziauddin University said that “I believe that gender equality will be achieved only when women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and responsibilities. This means sharing equally in the distribution of power and influence and having equal opportunities for financial independence and education can realize their personal ambitions”.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

Write A Comment