AURAT MARCH - #BalanceforBetter

(Nehal Imran, Karachi)

Banners used in Aurat March

A Women is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. March 8, is observed as an International Women’s Day all across the world cheering the power of women and celebrating their strength. Every year this day is celebrated holding different themes. #BalanceforBetter was the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. The 2019 initiative is aimed at gender equality, a great awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women’s achievement, according to the International Women’s Day website. This include creating gender equality and vanishing the historic gap between men’s and women’s in boardrooms, activist movements and beyond, making sure all are equal.

Different countries celebrate this day in different manners bringing attention to the social, political, economic and cultural achievements of women. In Karachi, on the day of “International Women’s Day”, march named “Aurat March” was performed along with other cities like Lahore etc.

Huge number of men’s, women’s and trans genders rushed on the Streets of Karachi on Friday, 8th March, under the collective platform of Aurat March to raise voice against gender discrimination and gender based inequalities. To celebrate International Women’s Day, held across globe, Aurat march was led by women aiming primarily to stand against all the odds of society and to demand about their rights and equality against highly dogmatic system running in our society.

The march helded at Frere Hall, included women from different backgrounds irrespective of their religious, economic or ethnic status and had an excess of speeches, performances, music and dances putting women as a center piece.

Not just women’s, but a huge number of men’s also came and participated in Aurat march raising their voices for women now a days and acting as their back strength. “I think it’s significant to men’s and women’s to come here and march for equality” said Faizaan, a young boy hoping to see change through the march.

The march also included dance performances by activist Sheema Kirmani and founder of women’s organization Tehreek-e-Niswan. Sharing her opinion with the public Sheema Kirmani said that, “Our issues remain the same today, we have organized the march to raise voice against gender violence, sexual harassment, social norms and gender role that oppress women from getting access to education, health, employment opportunities and rights.

The women’s rights advocate and volunteer, behind NGOs also participated in this march to support the struggle of women’s to gain equal rights. A famed folk singer Sanam Marvi and Nirmala Vakhani travelled their way from Umerkot to Karachi, only to be a part of this march and contribute their performances.

Aurat march also brought out some famous celebrities and personalities from Lollywood entertainment industry on the street of Karachi including famous film maker Jami, highly famed actor Adnan Malik, great singer Rachel viccaji and hilarious comedian Ali Gul Pir.

It was heart-warming to have female tourist also being a part of this march. Many women tourists visiting Pakistan from abroad also came in march for support and strength of women’s right. Many of the tourists shared their opinion and idea that they feel it is very important and vital for women’s belonging to different countries to stand in solidarity with Pakistani women. According to them, one women can make a difference but together they can rock. When women support each-others, incredible things happen.

The manifesto that was put in front by march was to demand equal rights, safer work place, economic justice and ownership of public places and space among all women’s. But, as we live in a society that include huge number of people whose mentality and the idea of women’s freedom and equality lack with modernization, many views against the idea of Aurat march have also been gathered. Few people think that the march was against the norms of society and Islam. According to some people the major aim behind this march was to raise women’s standards higher than men’s which is wrong in terms of religious values.

The different slogans and the posters that crowd was holding in their hands were showing their thoughts directly to the people. Some being extremely feminist, some standing for equal rights, some raising voice against old norms and set of thoughts and rules of our elders and some questioning about the standards of men raised higher than that of women in society. The pictures of slogans and march did also become a great part of social media trolling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with different captions based on the people supporting and going against the march.

The march ended with a patriarchy in rally that saw men’s, women’s and trans genders celebrating their freedom together with equality and joy.

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