A character in the Sesame Street cartoons used to say to little girls, “When you grow up, you can be whoever you want to be.” Ironically, throughout their growing years women are told about all the things that they are not to be, with or without words.
Women comprise of more than half of the Pakistani population and yet their gender roles are limited to household chores or raising up of children. Whether they can look beyond these primary roles is an option not readily available to them for not only does the societal culture play it’s adverse role but the culture at the workforce does it’s best to discourage women further.
However, Pakistan Peoples Party recently signed a bill under which workingwomen can make complaints against their peers at workplace if they face any physical or psychological harassment. A three years sentence or fine of Rs. 0.5 million or both could be the consequences of the complaint. Under the law, the use of immoral language against women or teasing her would be considered a violation of the law too. This law, if applied effectively, would provide a sense of protection to women, pave a possible path for female careers, and ease the recovery of the dwindling economic conditions of the country.
Conversely, media has not seemed too enthusiastic in covering this bill and has not highlighted its significance to the masses. Not surprisingly, many amongst the general public are, as a result, not even aware of the passing of the law. Whether this law will be fully applied or truly help in achieving the so-called milestones are questions that only time will answer but where is the role of the media? It is media’s duty to put forward both sides of the picture but our media only seems to be interested in the power and popularity of their mediums and the re-enforcement of the popular opinions. Is Pakistani media’s only job to criticize the political parties at the forefront and not help bring about any possible solution(s)? Also, none of the other liberal political parties of Pakistan have held up any support in favor of the law. The same goes for the Civil Society and the Political Analysts. Why?
Where is the missing reaction?
Maybe it’s not important to like the ruling Party, PPP, but is it also not important to extend encouragement to the possible positive changes that the party might be trying to bring about? Or are we, as a nation, just interested in criticizing all that is wrong and incapable of highlighting or looking forward to the possible amendments that are being brought about or could be brought about? Are we, as a nation, not more than a bunch of pessimistic, passive critics who want to discuss the irresponsibility of the government and not talk about the responsibility of the citizens?