KARACHI: Women at a workshop jointly organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) and Pakistan Council of Media Women unanimously agreed that a harassment cell should be set up at their workplaces so that they may be able to report such cases.
As many as 20 women, including established and aspiring journalists, participated in the workshop organised at the Piler Centre, Karachi, on Thursday.
Geoff Brown, a trade union trainer from Manchester, United Kingdom, conducted the session and motivated the participants by engaging them in different presentations and speaking sessions.
Talking about her experience, participant Sadia Siddiqui talked about how female journalists have to manage their work together with handling things at home.
Another participant, Maheen Najeeb Mangi, said that a major issue female journalists face during work is managing transport. She further shed light on how different tasks that are suitable for men are assigned to them.
Addressing the women at the workshop, Karamat Ali, the executive director of Piler, said that they must speak about their problems as no one else will speak for them. Ali added that society will keep suppressing the weaker groups if they do not stand up for their rights.
According to former Karachi Union of Journalists president GM Jamali, the reason why women have been deprived of their rights is a lack of education. He criticised the feudal system and added that the feudals do not want the women of rural areas to be educated otherwise they will learn about their rights.
Jamali explained how women have been serving the media industry and how they are dominating the electronic media industry. He gave credit to the electronic media on how they have raised the issues of female harassment throughout the country, which has also helped in educating the society.
Need to form unions
Brown stressed the importance of unions in the media industry. He said that the workforce in the industry should not divide itself along the lines of men and women - according to him, they can achieve their rights only by uniting themselves and establishing a union. Brown added that it is sad to see such low incomes of female employees in various media groups.
Charter of demands
In the end, a charter of demands was presented by the participants, stating that women in media should be provided with transportation, a harassment cell should be established at workplaces and legislation should be done for this in the National Assembly. Another recommendation was that all the political parties must mention a package for women in terms of education and employment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2016.