In the past, prime time programs for current affairs and news analysis had been predominantly male-hosted, however, the disparity between women talk show hosts with their male counterparts has shifted dramatically.
What used to be a genuinely male occupied field, has now seen women come into the fold. But this does not go to say that men and women are on equal footing. There are still a lot more men hosting current affairs shows as compared to women.
Morning shows on the other hand are mostly occupied by women as compared to men. They are not as serious as the evening current affairs shows and often include games and casual entertaining conversation topics.
Prime Time Shows
Major news channels have now begun to include extremely competent, professional and qualified women for their late night talk show programs. Maria Memon, who is a competent journalist and a newscaster, currently hosts a show on ARY News called Sawal Yeh Hai from Friday to Sunday at 10 P.M.
Another very accomplished news anchor is Amber Shamsi. Ms. Shamsi airs her show Sawal from Monday to Thursday at 8 P.M on Samaa News. She is an award-winning multi-media journalist and has worked for BBC World Service, Dawn News TV and Herald.
Other female hosts on major news channels include:
- Ayesha Baksh – Report Card on Geo News (Mon-Sat at 7 P.M.)
- Shajia Niazi – Meray Mutabiq on Geo News (Every Sunday at 6:30 P.M.)
- Farah Yousuf – Awam Ki Awaz on Samaa News (every Saturday at 7 P.M.)
- Kiran Naz – 7 se 8 on Samaa News (Mon-Fri at 7 P.M.)
- Meher Bukhari – News Eye on Dawn News (Mon-Thurs at 8 P.M.)
Many famous female anchors have gone to smaller news channels as well. Gharidah Farooqi moved to Aaj News after a brief stint at Gourmet News Network. Nasim Zehra who spent almost 5 years at Dunya News has been working at Channel 24 since October 2014.
Although women representation in the field of news telecasts is now being considered, they are still greatly outnumbered by their male counterparts, who not only have better timings fit for their shows but are also given greater precedence over female hosts with regards to the politicians or guests that they have on their shows.
Notable male talk show hosts include:
- Hamid Mir – Capital Talk on Geo News (Mon-Thurs at 8 P.M.)
- Kamran Khan – Dunya Kamran Khan Kay Saath (Mon-Fri at 9:30 P.M.)
- Kashif Abbasi – Off the Record on ARY News (Mon-Thurs at 8 P.M.)
- Arif Hameed Bhatti and Sabir Shakir – The Reporters on ARY News (Mon-Thurs at 7 P.M.)
- Arshad Sharif – Power Play on ARY News (Mon-Thurs at 10 P.M.)
- Waseem Badami – The 11th Hour on ARY News (Mon-Thurs at 11 P.M.)
- Ali Haider – Awaz on Samaa News (Mon-Thurs at 10 P.M.)
- Muneeb Farooq – Aapas Ki Baat on Geo News (Mon-Wed at 11 P.M.)
In a country such as Pakistan where women representation stayed in the lower numbers in the professional sector, it is good to see that so many talented and worthy women are coming on to the screen sharing, discussing and debating the ideas for the current political landscape of Pakistan.
Human Rights movements such as the Aurat March, push such an agenda and act as tools to break down professional barriers that hinder the growth and development of women in the country.
It is more important to note that women have broken into this field of work not based on nepotism or through their physical appearance, which is still a major issue in the country (objectifying women), but through their merit and hard work. This goes to show, that these frontrunners in the media world are, if not better, as good as their male cohorts and that they can provide in-depth analysis on any political matter with the same enthusiasm and professionalism.
For this reason in particular, it is disheartening to see so many women relegated to hosting morning shows. Only a handful of women in the country host current affairs shows during prime-time television hours.
Journalism in Pakistan has long been a field dominated by men. There are more women on news channels now than ever before but we are still a long way from equality.
Let’s hope that in the future women and men are represented equally on T.V.