On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the women across major cities of Pakistan on Monday took part in Aurat March (women’s march) for the protection of their rights.
The march is held annually and this time the rallies were organised in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and several other cities. What’s more interesting is that different chapters of the march issued their own manifestos. The Lahore chapter focussed on healthcare workers and women’s health, the Islamabad chapter focused on the crisis of care while the Karachi chapter addressed patriarchal violence.
While some took to the streets, participating in the rallies others chose to support Aurat March by sharing posters and slogans on social media.
Even a unique step was taken by the Lahore chapter as they laid out a “#MeToo blanket” where women shared their stories of sexual violence and abuse. In Islamabad, women sang and recited poetry, demanding their inherent rights, which include the right to equality, the safety of life, and respect. Karachi women carried placards with messages of “Stop underage marriages, equality is important, not victimisation.”
Meanwhile, even this year the highlight of the march was the iconic and sassy posters with blunt slogans. Pakistan’s Aurat March is known for its bold statements in placards wherein women have tried to speak about equality, abusive marriages, women’s agency over their bodies, and consent.
This year too saw the coming of such slogans which has been taking the internet by storm since yesterday. Take a look at a few of them here.
This year’s march also faced backlash in social media as people accused the participants of promoting “western values”. Many even called out the march as “damaging the society’s social fabric” for some protestors even showcased their support for LGBTQ+ communities.