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Powerful Women – Powerful Nation: Changing the Way Women Are Portrayed in Pakistan

Posted on the 13 March 2013 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal

Watch a welcome video recorded for the contest winners by CIPE Deputy Director Jean Rogers. Also available on Dailymotion.

In Pakistan, the contemporary image of women in the media is one that is filtered through a number of prisms. Women are rarely portrayed as strong political or economic actors, and mainstream media tends to promote negative stereotypes of women. But some Pakistani women are emerging to challenge the way they are covered in the media, believing that this directly impacts how they are treated in society.

Uks Research Centre, an organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s development in the country, recently marked the occasion of International Women’s Day by partnering with APNS to host the first annual “Women in Media” awards. These awards recognize women journalists in Pakistan whose work has generated better awareness and understanding of the fact that positive media content can and does bring about positive social change, especially in the realm of women’s development and gender equality.

In addition to the “Women in Media” awards, Uks also used the occasion of International Women’s Day to launch their new guidebook, Powerful Women – Powerful Nation, which will serve as a training tool and guide for journalists to conduct gender-sensitive reporting and journalism in Pakistan.

The award winners for this year are:


1st prize: Ms. Razeshta Sethna (Herald) for her feature “Signed, sealed, delivered” on laws that are aimed to protect women and prosecute violent crimes are yet to make an impact, published in the Herald March 2012.

Runner up: Imrana Komal (Daily Express Multan) for her feature on acid throwing in Pakistan and how stern measures are needed to rid society of these heinous crimes.


1st prize: Ms. Shamim Ara Marwat (Khyber News) for her story “Survival of women in refugee camps of Orakzai agency” on a program called “Zama Haq” (My right).

Runner up: Maimona Saeed (GEO TV, Multan) for her story on Women cotton pickers. These courageous rural women (along with their children) work in the fields all day, picking cotton, facing many hardships and yet they are far from making the ends meet.


1st prize: Afifa Habib (Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Bahawalpur) for her radio feature “Kiya Pakistani Media Aurat ki tasveer sahee tor par pesh kar raha hay?” (Is the Pakistani Media portraying a true picture of women?), a talk show on whether the media in Pakistan represents women properly, and whether the portrayal of women in Pakistani media has helped create awareness on women’s issues and any progress made on solving these issues.

Runner-up: Shamim Anjum (Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Islamabad) for her feature on Malala yusuf Zai.


1st prize: Sadia Haider for her story on, “Life of woman is violence in Pakistan,” on various forms of violence prevalent in Pakistani society and how awareness can be created on laws that are there to protect women.

Uks  also awarded a Life-Time Achievement Award to Ms. Zubeida Mustafa, “the first woman who made and changed the news in Pakistan’s mainstream media.”

CIPE joins Uks in congratulating all of the amazing individuals who are changing the way their country views women.

Colin Buerger is CIPE Program Officer for Global Programs.

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