ISLAMABAD-Gender norms and stereotypes can be changed and negotiated through diverse mediums, including art, music, film, sports, awareness campaigns and participatory dialogue towards a more open, equal and gender inclusive society, speakers said on Friday.

The Ministry of Human Rights, in collaboration with the European Union, held an interactive webinar on “Challenging Gender Norms: The Path to Female Empowerment.”

The panel discussion sought to explore the way that gender norms and stereotypes can be changed and negotiated through diverse mediums, including art, music, film, sports, awareness campaigns and participatory dialogue towards a more open, equal and gender inclusive society.

The panel discussion was moderated by Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Rabiya Javeri Agha.

The webinar was held as part of the “Reels for Rights” film festival that is being held online between the 4th – 25th of August, a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Human Rights and the European Union in Pakistan. The festival has been envisaged as an innovative and effective way to increase awareness and understanding of various human rights issues in Pakistan, with a focus on gender equality and female empowerment.

Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Country Representative of UN Women also joined the panel discussion.

 She spoke about the various ways that the UN is working towards improving gender equality in Pakistan, as well as gave specific examples of several projects that support various women led initiatives in the field of sports.

Agha spoke about the importance of developing cross sector partnerships between the government, civil society organisations, international organisations, and the private sector to create an enabling environment for girls like Erum Baloch to break gender barriers and stereotypes. She also proposed the development of a collaborative grassroots initiative to create opportunities for women in the area of sports.