Rallying For Aurat March
Before we start making up our minds about this article, let us first read the history of women’s day and how it started, and most importantly its real purpose. We all must know that its purpose was definitely not to bash men at Lahore press club and present horrendous posters. Now before you start bashing this article, please let’s take a small history lesson first.
History of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world every March. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic,cultural, economic or political. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.
Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries.The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.
Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights.The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.
What is Aurat March?
As the name and International Women’s Agreement suggests,Aurat March must be about our quest to give women an equal opportunity and never leave them behind in any walk of life. It is beautiful when all genders,all races, languages and ethnic groups unite to work towards betterment, and there is no sight better than that. Agree?
Let us first look at some of the stats related to gender inequality, harassment and rapes in Pakistan shall we?
So let’s talk about this article which got circulated a lot last year and even this year which talks about that allegedly ‘93%of Pakistani women experience sexual violence’ which caused a lot of heat and debate on social media as loads of keyboard activists spoke on the issues such as ‘Misogyny’ in Pakistan. This article if you read carefully does not state the sources of the ‘Facts’ presented in, neither the author cared to ask Mr Zia Ahmed Awan about the authenticity of the stats. The article goes to say that as much as 93% of women experience sexual violence during their lives,without mentioning the sample size of the respondents, the area where this sample was picked, or the cities where the sample was collected from. This article has more than 2k shares and thousands still talking about it to this date. My question is, do we allow people to loosely talk about such sensitive issues and not ask them about the authenticity of these stats? Or is it okay to let it slip because such articles are basically sponsored and are written to simply get more shares and clicks on the website?
The data mentioned above is from a reliable source as it is our responsibility to portray the real picture. Every link mentioned can be back tracked and checked for authenticity. As seen above. Pakistan is not even in the top 5 of the most women sexual harassment cases, now that does not mean it doesn’t exist, it does, and we see it ourselves. But, it surely doesn’t mean that we start misstating the facts and begin to blame the whole nation and all the men living in it. Our problem is not that women must not stand for themselves; our problem is women targeting a whole gender just for some attention on social media without realizing how this problem should be tackled in the first place.
Hardworking and competent men and women must get equal opportunities at work and in life, there is no question about that and as GaryVee says, ‘if you want to build the biggest building in town, build the biggest building in town, don’t break down all the bigger ones so your medium sized building looks bigger’. That’s a coward’ approach and my women are not cowards! I come from a country of Fatima Jinnah, Benazir Bhutto, Bano Qudsia,Parveen Shakir, Dr.Shamshad Akhtar and Arfa Karim to mention the least, these women shaped our society and are our pride! We are not a nation of misogynists or misandrists, we stand together as one and fight as ONE!
So, what kind of message these pseudo feminists are trying to spread here? For girls to stop respecting their fathers and start a war against them? Instead of educating the less privileged about their rights and benefits of education, is this a message we want to teach our kids?
According to this philosophical legend,one feminist bashing men or losing her tongue doesn’t mean that the whole movement is wrong, but it is okay to blame a whole gender because one man wronged you? You get the irony here?
Okay so we hate men who stare and women who giggle and pass comments at guys, it is unacceptable but do ALL MEN are sexist and abuse you?Do all men at your university victimize you? Ye saray mard hi ganday hain haina?
This is what true feminism is, standing strong, being comfortable with yourself and just working hard in whatever field you may be in. Unite everyone, don’t divide, it will only drive people away and create distance.
There are a million of instances where we see a separate shorter line in the banks for women, an express service at workshops In scorching heat because of course Khawateen ka khayal rakhna farz hai, equal job opportunities at white collar jobs but it’s okay for men to stand on signals and streets all day as traffic wardens, don’t need those jobs right?You don’t see men or women carrying on hideous play cards against women because of that do you?
Still think our country is pretty pathetic? Let me enlighten you more!
Pakistan is not perfect, but it is trying, we are trying to get better and we are! There is no point in showing how other countries are worse than us, it should always be about us and our people but sometimes, when criticizing, we need to look beyond and see how much are we contributing? This is gender Income inequality index where if not improving, we have stayed at least constant and with a new startup culture rising, I have seen places like ID92 and NIC Lahore where there are more women in charge than men! It is incredibly amazing to see more and more female entrepreneurs coming in the circuit and giving men a run for their money, on merit and competence; not on charity or pity.
So, we ask you.. What is Aurat March? And what are we looking to achieve from it?
Teach as you learn and give as you get, help those in need when you have enough.