A rally was taken from Faisalabad Press Club to Circular Road on Thursday to mark the 102nd International Women’s Day.
Titled Taking Initiatives for Empowerment of Women, the rally was organised by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivtion (AWAM) in collaboration with several NGOs including the Peace and Human Development, Global Human Rights Defence, Idara Samaji Behbood, CARE Foundation, Participatory Organisation for Women’s Empowerment and Rights, Insan Welfare Foundation Pakistan and Aitebaar Foundation.
The speakers demanded that the government take initiatives to recognise and declare informal workers as ‘labourers’ so that they could be included in social protection programmes.
MNA Khalida Mansoor and Dr Najma Afzal led the rally which was joined by students, lawyers, representatives of trade unions and politicians.
The participants condemned the ‘inhuman and unethical’ treatment of women in Pakistan and urged the government to take tangible steps for their empowerment.
They chanted slogans to support women’s rights and to oppose gender based violence and discrimination.
Harassment, murder, rape, forced abortion, trafficking, forced prostitution and honour killing were strongly criticised as were discriminatory laws and practices.
The speakers said the women were being denied their fundamental rights.
They said the political representation of women at all-tiers of the government must increase and their legislation against domestic violence and forced conversion should be stronger.
AWAM director Nazia Sardar, PHD Foundation director Suneel Malik, CARE president Yousaf Adnan, ASB president Irshad Parkash, POWER chairperson Naseem Akhter, Aitebar Foundation president Nasreen Bukhari, IWFP president Farukh Awan, ARADA convener Mehwish Anam, HEDO president Gul Pervaiz Ghouri, and PACE president Babar Saroya spoke at the rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.