Is really feminism of any value to Pakistani female journalists?

By Farman Nawaz

Feminism is a movement for the protection of political, cultural and economic rights of women. Although different female writers have worked on the history of feminism in Pakistan but is really feminism of any value to Pakistani female columnists and anchors.

Pakistani female writers are mostly interested in writing about politics, morality, and religion. Although sometimes they include feminism in their writing interests but what sort of feminism is their concern, it is still a research question that is not answered.  Whether Pakistani female columnists are inclined towards western feminism or Islamic feminism could be a research theme for the journalism departments.

Students of journalism departments can work on these research questions. Are female Pakistani columnists conservative or liberal? What are the moral standards for female columnists? How these female columnists define women rights? Is their scope confined to religion or humanism? What are the differences of opinion among Urdu and English female columnists? Who are close to feminism; Urdu or English female columnists? What are the main issues Pakistani female columnists are discussing?

Media sells burning issues but who has stopped the Journalism and English departments of Pakistani universities to dig out what Pakistani female writers are criticizing in their columns. Research proposals are prepared keeping in view the research methodology and theory. Journalism students are mainly interested in coverage of news using communication theories and students of English departments are mainly concerned about how a writer has used a theory in a piece of writing.

What social and political theories Pakistani journalists are using their writings is so far not the concern of journalism or English departments of Pakistani universities. Truly speaking unlike Western universities, Pakistani universities have not set so far their research interests. It depends on the choice of students what type of research they are interested in to conduct in their M.Phil or Ph.D courses.

Feminism only seems to be the objective of Pakistani drama writers. Pakistani media just highlight those news stories where any woman is harassed and mostly this responsibility is taken by either English newspaper or few news channels. Pakistani female columnists and anchors are more inclined towards politics as compared to feminism.

So far I have studied the following sixteen female columnists but mostly their concern is politics.  Mehar tarar  ,  Dr. Maliha Lodhi  ,Musarat Jabeen ,Ruby Shah ,Dr. Sughra Sadaf ,Kishwar Naheed, Zahida Hina,Raees Fatima ,  Taiba Zia Cheema , Bushra Rehman , Rifat Mazhar ,  Somy Ali ,  Sana Bacha , Asma Balarus ,  Shireen Mazari, Jugno Muhisn, Marvi Sirmad, Mina Malik Hussian, Mehreen Ovais, and Bina Shah.

Any proper research thesis on the writings of above female writers will be a foundation providing a window for further research on the work of Pakistani female columnists approach towards feminism. This research will clearly show how Pakistani female columnists see the women rights. Are they in support of feminism? What is their ideal in feminism – modern feminism or Islamic feminism?

In a society like Pakistan, feminism should not be left at the mercy of male dominated media industry. Just like other problems of society, feminism too would be wrapped in so-called cultural and social norms. Female writers can set the standard of feminism in Pakistan. Giving coverage to harassment of women is not feminism. Feminism deals with protection of women rights and women can better protect the rights of women. Almost fifty percent of our population comprise of women therefore when we talk about human rights then we cannot ignore the rights of half of our population. Journalism is also about human rights so how can female journalists ignore half of human rights.


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