Pakistani Women Are Sharing Why They'll Take Part In The Aurat March And It’s All Kinds Of Inspiring

By Rimsha | 2 Mar, 2019

Emerging through the barriers of the patriarchy, around 500 women from all walks of life stood up and marched for their rights as part of the Aurat March last year on International Women’s Day, March 8 2018. This revolutionary moment was met with praises and backlash, alike.

source: @AuratMarch2019/ Twitter

But the Aurat March is way more than just protesting, it is a movement which consoles, supports and aids women of all sections of Pakistani society.

The team behind the march highlights powerful women of Pakistan that have made their mark.

Channeling the spirits of Malala Yousafzai, Benazir Bhutto, Qandeel Baloch and Asma Jehangir, in fighting patriarchy one step at a time, this movement makes sure that these women and many more alike aren’t forgotten.

source: @AuratMarch2019/ Twitter (Nashra Balagamwala)

“If you look at what has been happening in our country, the amount of harassment cases that have come up, there is a lot of anger that is finally releasing and this march was a way to direct that anger somewhere for something powerful and beautiful,” said Sadia Khatri, one of the organizers of the Aurat March to The Express Tribune.

source: @AuratMarch2019/ Twitter

Alas, the march is back once again to stand firm in the face of our patriarchal society. The March will be held on the 8th of March, 2019 at the Frere Hall in Karachi, and at the Press Club in Lahore and Islamabad.

source: @AuratMarch/ Twitter

A few demands have been put forward, starting with the demand for an end to violence of all kinds.

This particular demand stands in solidarity with the #MeToo Movement, which inspired many Pakistani women, from celebrities like Meesha Shafi, to a large variety of women on Twitter and real life, to come forward with their experiences and talk about their trauma.

Furthermore, it demands justice for survivors without the fear of retaliation as we have seen happening in many cases.

The right to economic justice is their second demand.

From calling onto a harassment-free work space to ensuring that ALL workers have the right to work – this demand is vital in ensuring a just and tolerant society within Pakistan.

Giving women the right to make decisions for their bodies is another demand.

This demand in particular is extremely important as it highlights the importance of providing women with the freedom to choose for themselves what they want to do with their bodies. In a country, where a shockingly vast majority sees women as mere reproductive machines, if put into effect, this can save the lives of hundreds who are forced to give up any kind of agency.

Adopting measures to combat climate changes is a very important demand put forth by the team.

With the spiraling state of our planet, it is vital to shed light on environmental issues too and the Aurat March has taken upon itself to advocate for environmental awareness.

 

In the anticipation of the March, they’ve recently started a trend – #WhyIMarch – on Twitter and we’ve come across some extremely inspiring tweets that have filled our hearts with warmth and shed light on why it’s important to step out and join them.

Marching for at least a day free from harassment

Pakistan is a country where 93% of women experience some form of sexual abuse in public places and 70% of women experience sexual abuse by a close relative, at least once in their lifetime, stated by founder of Madadgaar National Helpline 1098. A society where blaming the victim takes precedence over persecuting the harasser, women feel threatened not only in public but at their homes too.

With the prevalence of sexual abuse cases in Pakistan, it is eminent that we march in favor of creating a safer environment for women where they won’t be scared to step out of their houses alone nor policed for their choice of clothing, where people will be held accountable for their actions and where victim blaming won’t take place.

Exhausted of being judged and policed for your dressing and behavior? So are these women

Our women should no longer have to bear the burden of honor. It is our right to dress, speak, walk and laugh the way we want.

No more of log kia kahengay. It’s time to stop shaming women for the way they carry themselves.

What do you do when the system fails you? You get out and march.

Time and time again we’ve witnessed our legal system failing to bring victims justice or provide them with security and it is for these reasons that so many of the cases go unreported.

Tackling the gender-biased wage gap

In 2018, Pakistan was ranked the second worst country in the world for gender inequality for the second consecutive year by the World Economic Forum. Most women work in the informal sector in Pakistan where the government regulations on minimum wage aren’t followed and women get paid even lesser. Most jobs in Pakistan are reserved for men only too due to societal taboos.

What if your home isn’t safe either?

Women in Pakistan are told to bear the pain of abusive marriages due to the stigma surrounding divorce and are often silenced under the guise of “love”. Marching for women and children stuck in abusive relationships is a step forwards.

How long will women be deprived of their right to inheritance?

Because public spaces are for women, too.

How often have you heard “larkiyan dhabe pey nahi jateen” or “woh larkiyoun ki jany wali jagha nahi hai” or my favorite “chor do yaar tum larki ho tumse nahi ho payee ga?”

Women deserve as much access to public spaces as men already have. We don’t need to be confined for “our own good.” We deserve freedom and liberation.

Because equal rights are essential – in every sense of the phrase 

Because unity and taking a firm stand are important

In this day and age, it has become vital that we take a stand against the oppressive elements of our society and in doing so must remain united. A system which has prevailed by silencing its women can only be dismantled when they no longer remain silent.

It is important to realize our privilege and stand up for women who don’t even realize that they live in a patriarchal society. It is at these times where we must march for not only us but them too.

The magnanimity of the Aurat March is seen in the fact that it has garnered a lot of support since last year. Women are no longer afraid to be loud, be bold and reclaim the rights that society tends to take away from them.

source: www.dawn.com

Will you be joining them to be on the right side of history?

 

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As A Pakistani Feminist, I Need To Clarify That We DON’T Hate All Men

 


Cover image via dawn.com

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