It’s 8th March and men, women, and transgenders across Pakistan have started their march against patriarchy in various cities. Aurat March is being held every year on International Women’s Day with an intent to demand equal rights for all, especially women, who are highly subjugated in Pakistan. This year, the participants of this march have called for drastic reforms that are inclusive of all genders and social classes. The organizers of Aurat Azadi March 2021 issued a charter of demands that raised several issues.
The list covers the disadvantages women and other minorities face due to male dominant society. They curated the list in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a drastic increase in violence against women. The organization will operate separately from multiple cities where protesters will collectively raise these demands according to each city.
Aurat Azadi March 2021 Charter Of Demands
The pandemic exposed the blunt inequality in Pakistani society and how most people possessed a corrupt heart. Feminists describe that their critics’ hearts have been irredeemably corrupted with the sense of injustice and inequality. They point that it is due to a toxic patriarchal system that allows uneducated men to conducted violence based on a person’s gender with disparities and capitalism. This is why they have called related patriarchy to nothing more than a pandemic itself, which is not ending. These slogans at an anti-rape protest perfectly explain this dumb society dominated by males. They also raised a voice for the growing dehumanization of different races and ethnicities by Pakistani society.
In Aurat Azadi March 2021 demands, the marchers have raised voice to stop discriminating queer people, decriminalize defamation, end anti-poor demolition, teach authorities and the media to behave properly with all genders, introduce, advocate, and implement women’s health efforts especially in accordance with coronavirus pandemic, and finally achieve equal pay, inheritance, and right to the city regardless of the gender.
The organization has been conducting the event for the fourth consecutive year and women are still out on the streets asking for their basic rights. Conduits of patriarchy have been silent on the pressing matter while the idea of getting women their rights faces criticism.
Pakistan’s Gender Gap Is Embarrassing
According to World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, Pakistan stood third from the bottom. It is currently ranking at 151 out of 153 nations with an index of 0.564. It has dropped down three places since last year and only two nations behind Pakistan are Iraq and Yemen.
Despite repetitive claims of ending violence against women and minorities, Pakistan still faces concerning cases of sexual abuse/harassment/attack, rape, acid attack, child sexual/general abuse, honor killing of unmarried couples, target killing of transgenders, forced marriages, and many more.
Aurat Azadi March 2021 calls out the leaders to create a system where the basic rights of women are not denied to their faces. In order to further disparage the victims of sexual abuse, Pakistan’s legal system criminalizes defamation. It is then used as a silencing tool by the criminals against anyone who speaks about what happened to him/her.
Need Of The Hour
Aurat Azadi March 2021 is the need of the hour because it raises the issues of all of the oppressed communities in Pakistan. It is crucial to talk about the devastating problems that women, the transgender community, and other minorities face in Pakistan on daily basis. The marchers have also been vocal about the healthcare needs of the underprivileged communities during the pandemic. They asked to increase the health budget by 5% (of the GDP) for the mental, reproductive, and rehabilitative health of women.
They raised a question on the problematic healthcare program by the government, which is not accessible to those without a CNIC. A collective social change is needed so that equality, inclusion, dignity, and freedom, can thrive.