ISLAMABAD - Gender-based violence particularly that against women has become a serious problem in Pakistan and one of the major contributing factors in this alarming trend is the lack of education and awareness on gender issues.

These were the findings of an outreach programme undertaken by Islamabad based consultancy and advocacy group Individual Land Pakistan, in collaboration with USAID and Aurat Foundation on “Sensitisation of media personnel on Gender Equity” which came to the forefront on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The project was initiated with a baseline survey to gauge existing perceptions of the public and media on gender equity. Results of this survey were representative of the fact that gender based violence and injustices were prevalent in Pakistan, particularly in areas that are still under the influence of feudal culture. The report stated that one reason for such crimes being continuously committed was the involvement of powerful and influential people, who exploit religion and culture for their own benefits.

The survey noted that women in areas of Balochistan including Chaghi and Pishin did not even participate in the survey due the cultural restrictions.

The baseline survey took women’s education as another indicator of the level of gender equity in Pakistan. Girls go to school in all provinces but the percentages vary: 79.5 per cent of girls in KPK, 75.5 per cent in Punjab, 85 per cent in Balochistan, 83.5 per cent in Sindh, 95 per cent in Islamabad and 93.5 per cent in Gilgit-Baltistan go to school.

After concluding the baseline survey, Individual Land Pakistan initiated the nationwide sensitisation of media personnel through workshops.