ISLAMABAD: Special Talent Exchange program (STEP) and National Forum of Women with Disabilities (NFWWD) in collaboration with US Embassy conducted a training workshop for journalists on disability and gender in development in order to sensitize the community on playing their role in ‘Supporting Women with Disabilities in Pakistan.’
According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability. Women often report higher incidents of disability than men. Across the globe opportunities for women are determined and limited based on cultural and social stereotypes attached with the female gender.
The training workshop mainly aimed at including women with disabilities in the development agenda and to create a barrier-free access to information, media and knowledge platforms for them.
Thirty journalists from different print/broadcast outlets and 12 women with disabilities — to share their experiences and discuss the problems being faced by them — participated in the training.
Participants of Workshop posing for a group photo at Ramada Hotel in Islamabad.
STEP and NFWWD are the pioneer organizations to have introduced the concept of ‘leadership of persons with disability’ in Pakistan. Both organisations have incorporated new and unique leadership approaches to address disability and gender inequality and enable women to develop/empower themselves as leaders in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Atif Sheikh, Executive Director, STEP, gave an overview of the current situation in Pakistan about barrier-free access to information, media and knowledge platforms for women with disabilities and discussed ways how media can be helpful in removing these hindrances.
Abia Akram, Chief Executive Officer, NFWWD, shed light on the concept of disability. She also talked about the barriers faced by women with disabilities in media and the models of disability. She explained it through different interactive activities involving all the participants so that they can better understand the misconception about ‘disability.’
Tehmina Zafar, an Islamabad based media consultant, shared her insight with examples from Pakistan and other countries on the issue.
Farhat Abbas, Editor Pakistan Special, discussed about some practical tips and how-to’s to accessible information (print, broadcast media, online, social media) for women with disabilities.