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gender equality


The Aurat March is an annual political demonstration organised in various cities of Pakistan. 

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pakistani womxn organised Aurat March across various cities in Pakistan. The Aurat March is organized under the banner of “Hum Auratain” (we women), an umbrella term for a collective of feminist women, transgender individuals, nonbinary persons, and gender and sexual minorities who stand against the patriarchal structures that result in the sexual, economic, and structural exploitation of women.

It all started two years ago when a couple of feminist groups from Karachi decided to hold a march on International Women’s Day, 8th March. Nighat Dad, the founder of Digital Rights Foundation and one of the organisers of the march in Lahore wrote, “The agenda of the march was to demand resources and dignity for women, for the transgender community, for religious minorities, and those on the economic margins, but more importantly, to acknowledge that women’s emancipation is inherently linked with improvement of all mistreated groups and minorities”.

According to the ‘Hum Auratain’ collective manifesto, there was no NGO or corporate funding and no political party alliance. It demands economic justice including implementation of labour rights, the Sexual Harassment against Women in the Workplace Act 2010, recognition of women’s input to the ‘care economy’ as unpaid labour and provision of maternity leaves and day care centres to ensure women’s inclusion in the labour force. It also demands environmental justice.

Women’s right to climate justice and resilience must be recognised and ensured, it said, access to safe drinking water, safe and clean air, protection of animals and wildlife, including cessation to the culling of stray dogs, and ensuring and protecting women’s food sovereignty, and recognition of women’s participation in the production of food and cash crops.

Other points in the manifesto included accountability and restorative justice against violence, access to a fair justice system, the inclusion of women with disabilities, the inclusion of transgender community, reproductive justice, access to public spaces including transport services and clean public toilets, inclusion in educational institutions, etc.

Then there were the more sedate messages. Five coffins were placed at one end of the park, with chilling signs stuck to them. ‘Honour Killing’, Transgender Killings’, ‘Child Victims’, ‘Domestic Workers/Polio Workers murdered’, and ‘Domestic Violence’ – a reminder of why women are killed every day.

The rally, organised by a collective called ‘Hum Auratain’ was huge and held in different cities – Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Hyderabad.


Feature Image Credits: Zuneera Shah for Dawn

Paridhi Puri

[email protected]

Womenite has been founded by Harshit Gupta, an under graduate student from NSIT, alongside a core team also comprising of undergraduate students, closely working with the consulting experts in the fields of gynaecology and a counselling. The organisation aims at “awakening, encouraging, and asking people to understand a woman’s mind, her deepest reveries; to blaze forth a new wave of feminism where women are at par with men in every context of life.”

Deriving their inspiration directly from the belief that the society does not need heroes to rise and shine from the dust, but needs a change in the mindsets of those who think only one gender can rule. The team at Womenite wants to create a safe world for women where they can live free lives. Achieving gender equality is their salient goal, only to be realised through better awareness in the society. Their approach includes organising public workshops and events targeting issues, considered to be a taboo and building a comfortable haven where victims of abuse, assault, discrimination and violence, along with their family and friends can speak out about their experience without being judged or shamed. They believe their approach is unique, as they implicitly understand the power of young minds. Womenite gives prime importance to bringing a change from a grass root level, i.e. to start the process of change from within our schools.
During a set of workshops organized by the team, with young students, issues like online and offline stalking, harassment at school or home and eve-teasing were tackled, comfortably, with the students in presence of their educators. The workshops kicked off with more and more girls participating in the conversations.
Apart from the objective of covering as many schools in the vicinity and remote areas, ‘Womenites’ take the advantage of Rahgiri days. On every Sunday morning, when most of Delhi completes their sleeping hours, participants from Womenite, all under graduate students, venture out to spread awareness about ‘Unacceptable touch through Free Hugs, Free Hi-fives’ targeting issues such as sexual harassment on the streets or inside institutions, not limiting its scope to a specific gender and also inculcating Gender Equality.
Their growing impact and participations with renowned communities has gotten them the much needed support. The organisation offers participation to any student who wishes to redefine conventions and reduce gender gaps, as well as seek out related issues prevailing in our society today.
To find out more about Womenite and its work, pay them a visit at – www.womenite.com
If you want to be a part of the change, apply to Womenite here