No gender equality without help from male members: report


At the launch ceremony of Plan International’s annual “Because I Am A Girl” report which assesses the state of the world’s young women on Thursday, speakers urged the government to take steps to empower young women through education. They were of the view that the latter’s standing in the world could not be improved without more positive, active participation from the males in their lives.
The report stated that fathers, brothers and husbands played an essential role in creating true gender equality.
The report by international children’s rights organisation Plan, made recommendations for action, showing policymakers and planners what could make a real difference to girls’ lives all over the world. The report also included primary research involving more than 4,000 children which revealed that young people’s worldviews were still heavily tainted by many stereotypical beliefs about gender roles in society. But revealingly the survey also showed that children were actually happier when they saw their parents sharing household responsibilities, rather than sticking to rigid roles.
Chief Guest on the occasion, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said a large segment of the woman in Pakistan faced a lot of problems. “We know the reasons for girls dropping out from schools; parents usually compromise on the education of girls because of male teachers, long distance and safety threats while travelling, ghost and dysfunctional schools, non-protective environments, corporal punishment, and a lesser number of schools and no psychosocial support services for girls,” she said.
The federal minister said, “We can change the fate of our nation by empowering our women by providing them skilled education. In our society you cannot get your rights of respect, better health and improved livelihood opportunities without getting education.”
Plan Country Director Pakistan Haider W Yaqub said, “while it is commonly accepted now that empowering women is the key to prosperous families and reducing poverty and deprivation, yet since Plan has launched its campaign and started monitoring the state of the world’s young women in 2007, we have rightly been asked: ‘So what about the boys? Many boys are affected by poverty, lack of opportunity and violence,’ but the truth is, girls face double discrimination because of their age and gender.”
Human Rights Division Secretary Batool Iqbal Qureshi also spoke on the occasion. Representatives from International non-government organisations (INGOs), non-government organisations (NGOs) and children from the slums of Islamabad and Chakwal also participated in the event. A drama highlighting the various problems being faced by young women during their college education was also staged on the occasion.