While the Pakistani media may have overcome many challenges over the years, it remains unprogressive in one aspect: gender rights. The media industry, still in its infancy, is found to have the “highest gender pay gap” and “one of the worst gender imbalances”.
A new report by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), UNESCO and UNWomen showed that men outnumber women five to one (5:1) in Pakistan’s media industry.
The report titled “Inside the News: Challenges and Aspirations for Women Journalists in Asia and the Pacific”also found that gender pay gap was highest in Cambodia and Pakistan of all the countries surveyed.
The report found a dearth of women in decision-making roles in Pakistani media and the existence of a “glass ceiling”.
Nevertheless, the report added, “Women within the industry are strong and defiant and are regularly challenging this status quo on gender rights issues and sexual harassment.”
While more than 48% of respondents in South East Asia said they had women represented at executive levels, only about 37% in South Asia said so. Across Asia and the Pacific, women made up 28.6% of the media workforce on average.
According to the report, there is a significant gender pay gap, with women on average earning $436 per month, 13.8% less than men, who made $506 per month.
Significantly more men (65%) than women (51%) said that their workplaces offered training and professional development opportunities, while the least available workplace provision appeared to be childcare, with only 2.9% of respondents saying they had access to such a service.
When it came to sexual harassment, 34% of journalists in Asia and the Pacific said they had witnessed sexual harassment at work, while at least 17% of female journalists said they had personally experienced sexual harassment. The report found that 59% of the time it was a superior who was the harasser.
Malaysian journalists in the survey were the best paid, with 80% earning more than $800 per month. The largest proportion of journalists in Pakistan, Nepal, Cambodia and Vanuatu, however, earned between $80 (Rs8,138) and $250 (Rs25,431) per month.
Sixty-seven per cent of all respondents had not received any form of safety training, the report found, while only 8.5% of respondents described their experience in terms of career advancement and recruitment opportunities as “excellent”.
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