Islamabad: A flash survey with ninety-three women from Pakistani media shows that 47.8% of respondents have faced some form of sexual harassment at their respective workplaces. The flash survey was conducted by Women in Media Alliance (WIMA) and Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD) to understand the challenges that women journalists face in the newsrooms in Pakistan.
38% of the respondents who took the flash survey said that their respective media organisations aren’t taking effective measures to implement the workplace harassment law, and 32% said they weren’t aware of any measures taken.
Only 30% of the survey respondents indicated that their respective organisations were taking measures to implement workplace harassment law. 60% of respondents were either unsure about the existence of policies at all or unaware of their respective organisational policies that deal with sexual harassment.
“The findings of this flash survey demonstrate that sexual harassment in the Pakistani newsrooms is a widespread and under-discussed issue,” says Sadaf Khan, Co-founder WIMA and Director Programs of MMFD. “Findings of the research show that the industry has a long way to go to incorporate policies that make newsrooms safe for women.”
It is important to note here that according to the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, all organisations and companies are required to display their workplace harassment policies for the benefit of their employees.
Answering questions about the understanding of rights under workplace harassment law, 97% of respondents indicated that they could benefit from orientation sessions on workplace harassment law and the legal procedures to initiate action under it. 95% of the respondents also indicated a need for legal advice on workplace harassment-related issues.
“WIMA provides free legal aid and advice to its members through Charahgar, a legal aid center initiated and operated by Media Matters for Democracy”, says Sadaf Khan, “However, as the data indicates, there is need for further scaling of these services”.