100th Women’s Day celebrated:
Passionate female speakers at the jam-packed open air auditorium of the Karachi Arts Council paid tributes to their sisters and pledged their commitment to the protection of women’s rights at a seminar held on the 100th International Women’s Day. The event was jointly organized by thirty social organizations.
The event kicked off with a song by Irfana Jabbar, a home-based worker called “Sar Jukhanay say kuch nahi hota” who in her mesmerising voice sang that a woman should not be submissive to anyone and should raise her head and be equal to all men.
Shedding light on the state of women rights in 2010, the Resident Director of the Aurat Foundation, Mahnaz Rahman said that this crowd gives a message to the government that the civil society is united in its condemnation of religious extremists. “Religious extremism has affected women to a great extent. In Swat and the northern areas, a number of girls’ schools have been blown up”
While highlighting the positive aspects of 2010, she said that the women’s cricket team, winning a tournament was a big boost, along with Asma Jahnagir becoming the first female president of Supreme Court Bar Association. She added that other emancipated women such as Asia Games medalist Naseem Hameed and award winning film maker Sharmeen Obaid should be celebrated.
“Coming to the more unfortunate incidents, violence against women remained high and the majority of them were killed in Karo-Kari cases in Interior Sindh. Also, rape and gang-rape cases were also reported in high numbers.” She also called for the abolition of institutions and laws introduced during the regime of former military dictator Zia-ul-Haq.
Surriya Nasir, a nursing student, highlighting the plight of nurses said that they are facing a lot of discrimination in their profession. She added the funds which are being allocated for nursing institutions are being utilised by the doctors’ fraternity. She pointed out that there is a dire shortage of nurses. Ms Nasir urged the government to resolve the issues of nurses and encourage more women to join the profession.
Hameeda Sikander, raised the issue of women workers, saying that those who work in factories or at homes are never appreciated by society. “We demand social protection be given to them and that they are appreciated by their families.”
Malka Khan, another social activist, said that she was happy that women from 18 towns had come to participate in the event, adding that women from Interior Sindh were also present.
Farhat Parween, said that hundred of years ago, women working in facotires in the United States struggled for their rights she said that the purpose of this event is talk on women-related issues.
Prior to the seminar, the women gathered at the Karachi Press Club and walked their way, chanting slogans as they marched towards the Arts Council.