Pakistani Journalist and Activist Ramna Saeed Receives the Diana Award for Her Advocacy against Sexual Harassment
Hailing from the city of wrestlers, Gujranwala, a 20-year-old girl Ramna Saeed is an outstanding young leader who recently received the prestigious Diana Award for her work as an advocate against sexual harassment as well as her social action and humanitarian efforts. According to the Diana Award Roll of Honour 2022 website, Ramna has created safe passages for girls and women in her community to speak about sexual harassment and bullying them experience in their everyday lives.
Ramna is a popular young journalist, social-human rights defender, and a vlogger affiliated with BBC Urdu. She has been acting as a voice for the voiceless through her journalism and is widely known for her advocacy work for social issues including the provision of human rights and interfaith harmony in different cities of Pakistan. Her exceptional social contributions have brought a positive change in society with a long-lasting impact at a large scale by inspiring other youngsters.
Being the first girl in her city to commence Youth-Roundtables on peace building and diversity, Ramna’s focus has been on ensuring everyone gets to experience a fair life. Her portfolio of work includes advocating for and raising awareness on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality, transgender and minority persecution, sexual harassment, rape. Consequently, she has delivered lectures on these issues and more in different cities of Pakistan.
“I highlighted and introduced the cases of sexual harassment and honour killings on social media platforms that were lying dormant and neglected and became a voice for the unheard, oppressed and suffering community. Besides my work on vulnerable girls, I also stressed the need to exert efforts on disclosing and preventing cases pertaining to male children sexual victimisation that often goes neglected unlike those of girls,” said Ramna.
The Diana Award was established in 1999 in memory of Diana, the late Princess of Wales. The Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex. This distinguished award is conferred to only those extraordinary young people who demonstrate their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create an everlasting positive change at a global scale. To win Diana Award, a nominee has to demonstrate his/her impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.
The CEO of Diana Award says, “We warmly congratulate our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and across the world who are real change makers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.”
In an exclusive interview Ramna says, “I was brought up in a male-dominated society, where I have seen women suffering under patriarchal oppression inside and outside their homes. Experiencing the miserable state of women suffering violence, extortion and harassment at the hands of male domination and patriarchy, I decided to become a strong voice for this oppressed segment and fight audaciously against these prevalent stereotypes and taboos of sexual harassment in order to bring a positive change in society.”
In 2016, Ramna saw a documentary about a girl who became the victim of honour killing in my city. “That egregious incident of murder of a sinless girl brought me to a deep state of dejection which persuaded me a lot to dedicate myself to pursue a career in media and journalism to give a voice to the voiceless,” she said.
As that incident left a profound effect on Ramna, she began questioning why was only that girl killed on the name of honour? “It was the decisive moment that emboldened me to stand in front of these societal threats in order to eliminate such prevalent stigmas from our society by spreading awareness regarding the protection of women lives and their rights,” she said.
During her humanitarian and social works, Ramna went to great lengths to find the root cause behind the rising cases of both sexual harassment and honour killing.
“The cause I ultimately discovered was the lack of awareness and cognizance amongst young girls about these emerging sexual occurrences. To materialise my purpose of nipping the evil in the bud, I met parents and families individually and with my team and emphasised the need to impart education and awareness to their children about how to keep themselves safe from sexual assaults and offences of harassment,” explained Ramna.
But it was not easy. While she convinced some parents to allow their children to have awareness sessions with her, a few of the parents were scared considering the involvement of NGO’S in these projects. They wondered how a girl who herself is just 20 years of age could make their children aware of such happenings. Yet, Ramna managed to successfully convince the parents and conducted numerous awareness sessions with their children.
Ultimately Ramna’s commitment, determination and dedication to her humanitarian efforts, philanthropic services, social advocacy and her pivotal role in depicting the plight of oppressed segment of society at the hands of patriarchy has won her this noble laureate. With her marvellous achievement of Diana Award 2022, Ramna has become a source of pride for Pakistan.
Source: Naya Daur