ISLAMABAD - A literary discourse held on Tuesday wherein Impact Assessment Report and Strategy Paper were launched to mark 100 Years of International Womens Day (1911-2011).
'We Can End All Violence Against Women Campaign, a nongovernmental organisation organised the event.
The strategy paper revealed that the situation of violence against women in South Asia reached alarming proportions even when we entered the second decade of the twenty first century.
It was estimated that one in every two women in the region experienced violence in her daily life.
In Pakistan, women account for almost 48.
9 per cent of the total population.
Studies showed that 80 per cent of women in Pakistan experienced domestic violence and one in every three women experienced some form of violence.
It added Pakistan was one of the few countries of the worlds to have a negative sex ratio with 100 women to 108.
5 men which uncovered an appalling reality about the society where female infanticide was relatively low, absolute preference to sons over daughters and sheer under valuation of girls means that many girls did not reach puberty owing to malnutrition or health negligence.
According to human development reports, Pakistan ranked 136 on a list of 177 developing countries on Human Development Index (HDI), 82 on a list of 93 countries on the Gender Development Index (GDI), and 152 on a list of 156 countries on Gender Empowerment Measures (GEM).
It revealed that major reasons of violence against women in Pakistan were patriarchal value system, poverty, religious misinterpretation, anti-women legislation and judicial system.
Women form around 70 per cent of the poor in the country making 66.
4 per cent of work force in agriculture sector but only 2 per cent own land.
Harris Khalique, Author of Strategy Paper 'We Can Campaign, speaking on the occasion said that gender roles were changing and increase in violence against women was a manifestation of resistance by the society to this change.
He said that a comparison of the strength of women students in universities could easily depict the social change on its way to Pakistani society.
The strength of women students in Karachi University was 90 per cent.
In Punjab University it was 70 per cent, whereas 60 per cent of the students in medical colleges were women.
Aamina Qadir, Author Impact Assessment Report 'We Can Campaign, said that the findings of the Impact Assessment Report indicated that We Can Campaign activities had contributed in bringing about a shift in individual and collective attitudes.
However, the extent of influence was context specific and was influenced by role of other actors including the state, media and civil society.
The data also exhibited that there were different deterrent and reinforcing factors in each area.
Nonetheless there was evidence in many areas that We Can Activities had contributed to tipping the balance towards eliminating violence against women but it might not have been the only factor.
Neva Humaira Khan, Country Head, Oxfam GB, said 'We Can Campaign Pakistan had successfully generated over 350,000 Change Makers, across 41 districts in Pakistan inculcating awareness around gender inequalities with positive shifts in paradigms towards all forms of violence against women.
Every single change maker had declared changes in multiple systems of life after becoming sensitised by 'We Can Campaign which was the highest rating among Change Makers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal & India.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 02-Mar-2011 here.