Media urged to highlight women's role in politics

Uks Research Centre points to gender imbalance in 2024 election coverage

Our Correspondent May 18, 2024


The Uks Research Centre (URC) has urged the media outlets in the country to recognise the transformative potential of women in politics and foster a more inclusive media environment for democratic, inclusive, and representative discourse.

The Pakistani media has been urged to increase the coverage of women's issue to address gender imbalance prevailing in the country -- a phenomenon witnessed during the news coverage of pre-and post-election period.

The URC organised a dialogue, titled 'Gender Representation in Media During Pakistan's 2024 Elections'. The event, hosted by URC Executive Director Tasneem Ahmar, was attended by politicians, representatives of journalists, and researchers.

In her brief remarks, Ahmar said that her organisation monitored gender representation in the Pakistani media, and conducted research on emerging trends and created awareness about inclusion and negative stereotyping through training and advocacy.

On the occasion, Shahrezad Samiuddin presented a data-based analysis of the media coverage of the pre- and post-election scenarios. She highlighted that during the election coverage, more than 90% of journalists, who reported to both print and electronic media, were males.

A better representation of was seen on TV screens where 33% announcers were women. Similarly, Samiuddin pointed out that the coverage of women-specific news did not exceed 10-13% in both forms of media. The share of women-related news increased in the current affairs shows to 38%.

During the discussion, it was pointed out that women's participation in the 2024 election had been more than the previous polls and that many of them won the general seats and then succeeded in attaining higher offices.

For example, a Hindu woman contested on a general seat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while Punjab elected the first ever female chief minister of the country as well as the Balochistan Assembly elected a female deputy speaker.

The participants also pointed to a lack of women in decision making positions in both print and electronic media. They suggested that social media analysis should be conducted separately from the traditional media.

Overall, the participants agreed that a woman did not need to be a victim to make the news. With their strong presence in every sphere of life, they are contributing immensely to the nation building and their role in the society should be equally reflected in the media coverage.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2024.


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