Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Joanne Frederiksen has said that gender equality leads to greater productivity and growth. She said this while speaking at the inaugural workshop for media professionals on Saturday, as the high commission announced to organise online workshops for media professionals during the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. The workshops aim to raise awareness of violence against women by encouraging gender-sensitive reporting, said the Australian High Commission in a statement on Saturday. Joanne Frederiksen said that promoting equality and the rights of women and girls is central to Australia’s development, economic and bilateral cooperation with Pakistan. “Gender-based violence is a shared challenge. There has been an alarming increase in violence against women during the lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19. The role of media is important in challenging traditional social and cultural norms and attitudes that condone violence against women,” Frederiksen added. Renowned Australian journalist and advocate for gender equity, Virginia Haussegger is joining top Pakistani journalists Amber Shamsi, Marvi Memon, Mehmal Sarfraz and legal expert Sara Malkhani in the workshops to share experiences about the transformative role media can play in preventing violence against women and girls. Haussegger said, “I applaud those who embrace media education around violence and congratulate those Pakistani journalists who aim to improve media reporting.” She said, “Given the increasingly high rates of violence against women it is vital that we all learn to separate the myths from reality. Journalists must learn to distinguish perpetrator accountability from a victim’s actions.