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Gender equality or gender respect? The real fight

Will We ever figure out how to talk and behave   with women at work place? 

              Saddia Mazhar

ISLAMABAD,( Parliament Times): It was indeed a happiest moment when Raheela received an audition call from a News channel head office Islamabad. The Human Resource Manager called her for interview and audition on the next day. She reached their on time and filled a form. She was ambitious and motivated but after meeting the HR manager she realized that it is not easy and will have to compromise on herself respect and ego. The said was more interested in her rather than her abilities and work.
In short when Raheela approached the higher management of the news paper through one of
Raheela’s friend and launched a complaint but of no use .She realized that all media gurus stand together to safe the culprit to secure the fake rating and wellbeing of the media out let. Sexual harassment is not uncommon in Pakistan but as legal experts have reminded us repeatedly, few victims file a complaint either with the police or with the Human Rights department due to many reasons that includes a lack of awareness on the legal option available to them. “One of the most important things to do after an incident is to write down what happened, what was said or touched, who did it, whether anyone was around to witness what happened, where you were, what the time was,” Ms shad begum an women right activist said .
Understanding what is happening with you may help when approaching the issue of harassment at workplace. Harassment has been occurring. But unfortunately, we can’t see any quick reaction by the government and authorities after it is done. And later while it comes to investigation, the authorities blame the women for it. Why so? Total number of registered harassment cases against women at Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women (FOSPAH) is 432, in year 2018-2019. In an official document of FOSPAH, 432 cases are reported from all provinces where as 414 cases have been disposed of while only 18 cases were pending. 158 cases were from federal capital, Out of 432 cases while 152 cases were from Punjab and 56 cases were reported from Sindh. Moreover 34 cases were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 12 cases were from Baluchistan and 2 cases from Fata were registered in FOSPAH. Whatsapp and facebook are the worst sources when it comes to the online harassment cases. According to the report of Digital Right Foundation (DRF), the toll-free helpline (0800-39393) received a total of 2,781 complaints from Dec 1, 2016, till Nov 30, 2018, with an average of 91 calls each month. Half of all calls came from the most populous province, Punjab — 57 per cent. The helpline received 18pc calls from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (5pc), Balochistan (2pc), Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (1pc) and Islamabad (5pc). The report noted that 59pc of the calls were made by women, whereas 41pc of the callers were men. However, it added, it was important to note that several men were calling on behalf of women. In terms of age distribution, a majority of the helpline callers (21pc) were young — between the ages of 21 and 25 years.
In terms of platforms being used for online abuse, the report found that a majority of the complaints were about harassment on Facebook. According to the report, 660 of the complaints (29pc) related to Facebook. Recently, however, the helpline experienced an influx of calls relating to mobile-based scams that prey on the trust of individuals on WhatsApp. Cases regarding the messaging application have risen from 2.6pc to 9.5pc in the past six months (with the total number of cases rising from 29 to 220), it found.
According to DRF founder Nighat Dad: “Our callers have reached out to us from far- flung areas of the country which goes to show that the negative use of online tools has impacted lives equally. Our aim for the coming year is to increase our capacity and reach out to a wider audience so that the internet can be a safe space for all.” The report called for investigation officers and prosecutors to be trained in cybercrime laws, internet governance, criminal procedures and trauma counseling. “At least 33pc of the investigation officers and prosecutors should be women and the entire staff of the NR3C should be given training in gender sensitivity.”
The Federal Ombudsman Ms. Kashmala Tariq said that when she took office, there were 5 cases a month, now the number has grown up to 60. Every institution has a harassment department, we can file cases. In case of harassment, parents say what people will say but we have to eliminate fear of what people will say, she added.


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