Call to prevent the harassment of women activists and entrepreneurs on social networks

There should be effective implementation of laws to clamp down on the continued heavy use of social media and digital platforms to relentlessly harass activists fighting for the cause of women’s empowerment and women professionals and entrepreneurs who work to use their skills for the national economy.

This was one of the recommendations of a seminar on women’s empowerment organized by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) in a hotel on Thursday evening and attended by female workers who have excelled in different fields. .

Speakers demanded that social media not be an arena where anti-social elements are unchecked or policed ​​to commit harassment at its worst against prominent professionals and activists who are fully committed to the cause. gender equality.

Saira Bano, former Head of Women Entrepreneurs Committee of KCCI, lamented that despite the adoption of several strict laws on this issue, women workers continue to face daily incidents of harassment in urban centers.

She said such uncontrolled incidents discourage educated women from using their qualifications for the betterment of their own families and for the betterment of the national economy.

Najia Asher, a TV news presenter who now runs a media think tank, said that despite all the work done to pass laws against cybercrime, the issue of online harassment of women is far from resolved in the country.

She said there should be effective monitoring of the use of social media as a means of delivering hate speech against social activists who have worked to champion the cause of women’s rights.

She was pleased that the growth of the private sector in electronic media had provided many opportunities for women to work in journalism. She called for changing the attitudes of the main political parties. She recounted an incident earlier in the day when a mainstream religious party discouraged a TV news reporter from covering their event in Karachi while advising her not to attend the male-only venue.

Asher said the internet has become a major boon for skillful women to showcase their talent through e-commerce platforms to earn money without leaving home. Sabeen Gul, who heads the CSR and Sustainable Development wing of the National Bank of Pakistan, said the National Bank is fully committed to supporting women who want to contribute to the national economy by starting their small and medium businesses.

She said National Bank has partnered with a number of non-profit and non-governmental organizations that have set up specialized programs to improve the knowledge of budding entrepreneurs on the financial side of business. .

Huma Waheed, Member of the Governing Body of KCCI, said the Karachi Chamber stands for the empowerment of women who wish to enter the arena of business and industry as they should enjoy all the facilities and privileges available to the main businessmen of the country. .

Seema Tahir Khan, who is associated with private television media, said Islamic teachings were synonymous with empowering women to work in all areas with male members of society, and women’s civil liberties do not should not be restricted in the name of religion.

She pointed out that every woman should fully believe in her qualities, qualifications and skills and should do her best to excel in practical life. She shouldn’t be discouraged by elements who believe in gender discrimination, Khan said.

Aarifa Anis, national manager of the Saylani Welfare Trust, said her non-profit organization works to develop the skills of women to enable them to work in the field of computing and information technology.

Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, founding president of Make-a-Wish Foundation Pakistan, said a law should be passed to require every company to set aside 1% of its profits for CSR-related causes.