On the eighth of March, 2018, the ladies of Pakistan created history. what's celebrated the world over as International Women’s Day became the primary iteration of the “Aurat March”. ladies from all over the country emerged from their homes and workplaces to require to the streets and demand equal rights.
With behenchara (sisterhood) and yakjehti (unity) as its slogans, the march brought along people from all walks of life. The roads of Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad saw an organized, peaceful movement that celebrated womanhood and embraced peace. it had been an historic moment in history.
This year, ladies from Pakistan’s various socio-economic categories have been organizing diligently. Months of reach, project planning, meetings, tension, and collaboration will culminate on the eighth of this month within the second Aurat March—an even larger event than last year’s.
Lahore’s version can begin from the Press Club and finish at Alhamra, flooding the city’s streets with the voices that sometimes go unheard. That being said, the Aurat March doesn't claim to be a movement in and of itself. It is, rather, one cog within the collective struggle of women all over the world.
What is most special concerning this march is that its agenda is very inclusive . The manifesto, crafted over hours of work by dedicated people, reads: “The use of the word ‘Aurat’ isn't to exclude our trans sisters, gender non-conforming people or the larger queer community”. The march is intersectional: it hopes to incorporate the differently abled, the trans, the queer, religious minorities, and people on the economic margins of society. a statement by the march of last year enunciates the agenda well:
“The agenda of this march was … to recognise that women’s liberation is inherently connected with the liberation of all oppressed teams and minorities.”
The demands of the Aurat March include an finish to violence against ladies, labour rights, reproductive rights, environmental justice, anti-sexual assault laws, wage equality, honest political representation and opportunities, education equality, and equality for the transgender community. It asks for an finish to policies of mass destruction and militarism, police brutality, laws that inure religious minorities, and child marriages and honour killings.
A group of dedicated ladies have organized the march, operating diligently to create the march a success. Last year and this, the march takes inspiration from a collective known as Hum Auratain that “stands against patriarchal structures”. At its core, the march is anti-capitalist, with the terribly first lines of the manifesto stating its core principles: no NGO funding, no company funding, and no political party alliances. the aim of the Aurat March isn't to stir feelings of antipathy towards those in power or to ignite a violent struggle. Rather, the aim is to collect all those who believe the liberation—personal, academic, economic, skilled, or sexual—of the marginalized factions of society. Ever since the dawn of the #MeToo movement, women have come up with innovative ways to subvert ancient notions of masculinity and femininity, patriarchal structures, and oppressive systems. The march can become another worthy addition to the embarrassment of resistance that women still show to the patriarchy. The march is proof that patriarchy will not last forever.
The Aurat March welcomes all those who feel that they have to raise a voice against oppression. All women are welcome, as are men. those who want to introduce their children to activism are welcome. Performers are welcome to show their art as a way of resistance to the establishment. All could come, as long as they believe freedom from oppression.
So why should women move to the Aurat March? because it is about them.
And why should men, trans people, minorities, or anyone else? because it is about them, too.
Join in to create your voice heard at the lahore Press Club at 3:00 pm on the 8th of March.
The writer is an English major and aspiring poet.