Women face harassment at workplace with job insecurity: moot told

May 1, 2013 Off By Web Desk

HYDERABAD: Women have been facing issues related to health and harassment at workplace with job insecurity. They are not being recognized as workers but inspite such hurdles, they are challenging stereotypes in the society.

This was observed by the participants and leaders of women unions during a three-day media training workshop organized by Intermedia with the support of International Labour Organisation ILO and Canadian International Development Agency CIDA aimed at building capacity of journalists to cover themes of gender equality in the world of work being held here at a local Hotel of Hyderabad from April 29May 1st, 2013. Journalists from print, TV and radio participating in the workshop in order to learn the importance of raising profile of reporting on gender and labour issues and sharing their experiences relevant to the subject.

Trainer Afia Salam, Regional Director information Imdad Keerio, Lala Hassan, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Jaffer Memon, Jae Parkash, Nazia Qureshi, Erum Dars, Mahvesh Abbasi, Musawwir Shahid, Ishaq Mangrio, Sohini Paras, Abdullah Sarhi, Erum Palh and others participated and shared their views during the workshop.

Rafia Panhwar, a trade union member, shared how she had to struggle organizing the women in her organization to voice their concerns and be heard. After attending a leadership training programme organized by the ILO earlier this year, she said she and other trade union activists have developed concrete plans to advocate for their rights including right to collective bargaining, right to equal wages, maternity leaves and decent work environment.

The training, built around International Labour Organization’s standards and conventions to promote Decent Work agenda for women, trained a cadre of working journalists to promote good working conditions and environment for working women.

The initiative will train 800 journalists from 28 districts of the country through 35 training programmes spread over the course of a year. Through the training programme, ILO hopes to improve the coverage of working women, bringing about a nuanced and sensitive portrayal of working women in media.

The initiative is part of a landmark 5year ILO project titled Gender Equality for Decent Employment GE4DE – to build the capacity of over 5,000 women workers and entrepreneurs in Pakistan to become better professionals in the world of work. While seeking to train and create opportunities for the disadvantaged men and women at the grassroots level, the project aims to engage with media to educate all stakeholders about empowerment of women in the world of work in Pakistan.

ILO has already conducted a number of policy forums, which produced a national declaration to actively promote the coverage of gender equality and decent work issues by all mainstream and key regional media houses across Pakistan, indicating the wide support for this initiative.

Participants said media can minimize gender biases in the society and can advocate and promote for conducive workplace policies and programmes for women by addressing the stereotypes and discrimination within its own structures. Appreciating the lacunas in the implementation of the law on sexual harassment of women at workplace, they said that media should highlight such issues as the law should be implemented in its true letter and spirit.

Participants emphasized that negative portrayal of women should be stopped and the identity of survivors in the case of sexual harassment should not be revealed so as to maintain its honour and dignity in the male dominated society of Pakistan. The training sought to equip reporters with professional techniques and resources to improve coverage and portrayal of working women in media.