Why you should be part of the Aurat March in Karachi this Women's Day

Why you should be part of the Aurat March in Karachi this Women's Day

Four women share what marching for economic, reproductive and environmental justice means to them
Updated 06 Mar, 2018

The coming Thursday is International Women's Day and if you don't have any plans, that might be about to change.

Inspired and fueled by women movements and struggles worldwide, Aurat March is coming to, but not limited to, Karachi on 8 March, starting from Frere Hall 4pm onward. Inspired marches will be happening in Lahore and Islamabad too!).

Women from all walks of life will be mobilising to highlight a diverse range of issues they face and call for economic justice, reproductive justice and environmental justice. Men are also welcome, as long as each is accompanied by two women.

What makes it unique is the fact that it is a collective effort and not spearheaded by any one entity; the flyer distributed by Hum Auratein (We Women) doesn't mention any organisation so it's completely a citizen-led effort, being funded by small contributions from individuals.

Aurat March poster up at City Court
Aurat March poster up at City Court

Images spoke to four women actively participating in Aurat March, each explaining why it means something to them:

Haniya, member of Hum Auratein

"I've worked with women in squatter settlements in Karachi and it's heartbreaking to see the struggles they go through. Even getting an ID card is a herculean task. They have no rights in the workplace, let alone anyone to defend them if they are being exploited.

Hum Auratein at their press conference in Karachi
Hum Auratein at their press conference in Karachi

And it's not just women from the lower income group. Educated, financially independent women go through domestic abuse and violence at the hands of their so-called educated husbands. Is there a domestic violence hotline that women can call? Can they call the police? Societal mores in Pakistan have made it difficult for women to speak out.

Why should we stay quiet if we are being abused, harassed and subjugated?

I'm marching because in the past one year of living here, I've seen and experienced enough. Women need to unite and support each other, instead of standing at the sidelines, looking away and hence perpetuating abusive, violent behavior that men are meting out to other women. Keeping silent means you are complicit too. Don't be a part of the problem. Come march with us, and be a part of the solution."

Sabahat, member of Hum Auratein

"For me, the most important aspect of this march is bringing people who belong to different races, classes, religions, ethnicities, abilities, and genders together to speak up and claim their rights from the state. It is important for women and non-binaries from all backgrounds to speak up about the structural violence they face themselves; instead of other people speaking for them.

The flyer distributed by Hum Auratein
The flyer distributed by Hum Auratein

The power and ability to resist state entities is in itself a privilege and Hum Aurtein is using this privilege to mobilise as many diverse groups of women and non-binary people as possible."

Zoha, member of Hum Auratein

"I think it will encourage people to mobilise more for causes they care about. I think the root cause of why we don’t put ourselves out there more is because we think our voice won’t be loud enough and we won’t ever make a difference.

This March is one of the few things I’ve seen that’s really brought people together who are fighting for similar causes and when you see them working tirelessly for what they believe in, it makes you want to do the same.

Our voice is so much louder together. It’s inspired me so much personally - just in watching you guys work to make this happen day in and day out. Harkat mein barkat hai. The more activity you see, the more you want to keep it going. And that’s the beauty of the march - that it is this incredible unifying force, and that this is just the starting point. In this unity, we are so much stronger than before and that is what I think makes the fight ahead a lot less daunting."

Atiya, member of Hum Auratein

"People turning up at Frere Hall on 8 March can expect women (and allies) from all backgrounds, religions, creeds, a buzzing electricity - this is our time and we're excited to be voicing our concerns! Personally, participating in Aurat March to me means that I am part of the larger conversation about feminism and intersectionality in South Asia and 10 years down the line, I can look back and say I was part of something great and inclusive."


Nizamuddin Ahmad AAli Mar 06, 2018 09:49am
The women of Pakistan should protest against the bias in hiring in electronic media. We are a nation of dark colored or not so fair complexion people and yet in order to become either a presenter of TV show or Talk show host only light complexion women are considered for the job. Merit and journalistic ability should be the criteria. I have always believed and seen our women with extraordinary talent have been denied a job just because of the color of the skin. AURAT movement should say ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
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mohammad H Khan Mar 06, 2018 10:09am
Why you should be part of the Aurat March in Karachi this Women's Day... maybe the MARAD zaat have failed miserably ...A woman with a voice is a stronger woman but the search to find that voice can be remarkably is difficult ..
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anonymouseeee Mar 06, 2018 12:56pm
If only they start demanding 'equal' rights as men (instead of demeaning them outright), they might get more men supporters.
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Umair Khan Mar 06, 2018 11:55pm
@anonymouseeee They don't need men who want to make a march for women empowerment about themselves anyway. They'll do just fine, thank you.
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El Cid Mar 07, 2018 02:47am
Women should stop getting married and live on their own.
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Ishtiaq Mar 07, 2018 06:07am
The country there is no Law and Order these type of march and media awareness useless.
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Rana Hasnain Mar 07, 2018 08:28am
Walk for the cause is a first step towards creating an awareness about important role women play in developing a nation, and grooming generation. They need to be given recognition & acceptance of their efforts by the society .
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Vijay B. Mar 08, 2018 11:24am
Very well written and what the women say is very inspiring and exhilarating. Heck half the human population is constituted of women, it is absurd that they even have to work to assert and claim their rights. Who designated men to be the "Thekedars" of the human race? EQUALiTY is the BIRTHRIGHT of all humans. But reading "Men are also welcome, as long as each is accompanied by two women." irked me considerably. Ironic, isn't it? Reverse discrimination in a march for equal rights?
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Vijay B. Mar 08, 2018 11:43am
@Rana Hasnain very well said Mr. Hasnain.
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Ns Mar 08, 2018 12:58pm
Does CPLC have a unit for victims of domestic violence? It should. It should also have a unit for domestic workers who are victims of violence from their rich employers
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