ISLAMABAD: Leaders of Women Democratic Front (WDF) have condemned the recent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government order of banning media and social media coverage of all events in girls’ schools across the province.
In a joint statement issued here on Tuesday, WDF leaders Mumtaz Tajik and Ismat Shahjahan said this action reinforces the existing gender segregation; one of the many tools to systematically degrade women’s position in the society.
They said that gender segregation reinforces the idea of the “natural” role of a woman in a patriarchal society, limiting her to the confines of a home and away from the public sphere. “It also paves the way for depriving women of opportunities and limiting their access to resources, services and recognition,” they added.
WDF Information Secretary Tooba Syed said that in this particular case, the achievements of the girls will not be shared on social media and with the public in the name of “protection” and upholding their “modesty” to maintain their pardah.
“The imposition of this ban means no recognition for their achievements because they need to be kept away from the public eye while the achievements of boys will be celebrated, which is a thoroughly unconstitutional form of discrimination,” she added.
WDF General Secretary Alya Bakhshal said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), similar to its previous tenure, continues its discriminatory practices against women.
“During the last tenure, the KP government failed to pass any pro-women legislation and instead left the issue of the bill of the violence against women at the behest of the Council of the Islamic Ideology (CII),” she added.
The WDF demanded for this ban to be removed by the KP government at once. “The decision to observe pardah or not is solely a woman’s own decision. The institutionalisation of the conservative practice of gender segregation amounts to a degradation of women’s economic, social and political position in society,” they said.
“WDF stands against this institutionalisation of the harmful practice of gender segregation and reasserts its objective of struggling for the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices against women,” they concluded.