Girls paint socioeconomic disparity, sexual harassment


Rawalpindi, MAR 9 /DNA/ – More than fifty female participants from different schools and colleges of twin-cities skillfully reflected issues and challenges confronting girls and women in different mediums and pallets. The live painting competition was organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and Punjab Arts Council Rawalpindi in collaboration with Islamabad Crescent Lions Club (ICLC) on Wednesday to mark the International Women’s Day.

Sexual harassment, inequality, lack of education, poverty, socio-economic struggle, social disparity, domestic violence, dreams and hope were the subjects the participants painted very intelligently. Some of the art works aesthetically presented flickering vision and thoughts the young women are surrounded by.   

Kulsoom Chattha and Qindil Shahzad of the Fatima Jinnah Women University won the first prizes, Laiba Imran from Superior College and Tasbiha Rehan from Federal Government Postgraduate Girls College Kashmir Road won the second prizes, Fizza Javed from Islamabad Model College for Girls (Postgraduate) F-7/2 and Muneeba Urooj from International Islamic University Islamabad secured third position, Saharun Nisa of Sultana Foundation Girls High School and Alina Latif of Islamabad Model College for Girls (Postgraduate) F-7/2 stayed at fourth position, while Laiba Yaseen of Arid Agricultural University and Omaima Khan of Divisional Public School won fifth position. Mahnoor Khushhal of Fatima Jinnah Women University won the Director’s Choice Award.

Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change Senator Seemi Ezdi was the chief guest on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, she said the paintings were a true reflection of the girls’ apprehensions and aspirations. Through art, they have reflected what they feel about the untoward behaviours at homes and in society as well. Art is just not a source of expression but a medium to educate people about the social concerns and taboos.    

Well-known women activist Sumaira Raza urged the parents to give confidence to their daughters to face the challenges of life and career. We need to prepare our young girls for the future and support their aspirations for the sake of a vibrant society.  

The exhibits reflect the strength of womanhood that has a key role in a refined society. The first prize winning painting in the Masters category showed an incomplete image of a woman surrounded by the flowers and attractive motifs. Explaining her painting, Humera Tamkeen said women of our society are incomplete despite all luxuries available to her. She is adored for her charms not as a person and her work is also ignored.  

Devcom-Pakistan Director Munir Ahmed said art can play a significant role in transforming society. This medium of creativity stimulates inner vision of a person, and grooms the aesthetics leading to individuals playing a positive role in society.

Ahmed said the International Women’s Day (March 8) is a day to reinforce the pledge to give women their due space in the society. Women shall be given equal opportunities of social and economic growth as pledged in the global treaties and conventions. While celebrating the day, we need to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Ahmed said, every year Devcom-Pakistan develops its own theme and a set of events are planned around it that depict women’s struggle for their rights in Pakistan. This year ‘women in culture’ is the theme to focus on the women’s work in the cultural sector. Women of our society are striving hard to get their due place in every profession to play their dynamic role to boost the economy and to make a robust society. In this struggle, they face many hurdles and stigmas, and unfortunately their work and struggle is undermined despite a long journey of advocacy and awareness-raising efforts.

Punjab Arts Council Rawalpindi Director Waqar Ahmed said we need to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the women’s work to inspire more womenfolk to become part of the economic productivity. Women working in the culture sector are more stigmatized in Pakistan especially those engaged in the professions such as dance, music and theatre.

A student Mahnoor Khushhal said men should support their daughters, sisters and wives to actively live in the society and contribute to the domestic economy. Without active participation of women, no nation can socially and economically prosper. She said the Devcom-Pakistan festival has created many opportunities for women to express their talent and skills in many ways.      

Riffat Ara Baig, Head of Art & Design West Minster School, was of the view that the participants have done some marvelous work the best of which would be displayed in the festival’s forthcoming exhibition. The festival is achieving its objectives by engaging different segments of society in different activities despite lack of funds and sponsorships.