Empowering women: Making women’s cultural presence visible

Lok Virsa holds seminar to mark international women’s day


APP March 07, 2016
Handmade cane boxes. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Women should be able to enjoy creativity, performing arts and means of expression as anyone else in the society, women rights experts and policymakers agreed at a seminar on Saturday.

They were speaking at a seminar titled “Women reclaiming culture”, which was arranged to mark International Women’s Day at Lok Virsa. This year’s theme for the day is art and culture.

The speakers said that for a very long time, culture has been abused to restrain and suppress women, and crimes against women were legitimised in the name of honour and tradition. They said that women were restricted from showcasing their abilities in public in the name of their “traditional role.” They called for such practices to be abandoned.

The participants also highlighted the role of women in preservation of cultural rituals such as folk songs, language, and food. However, they said, that women’s participation in public life is stigmatized, sometimes in the name of morality and sometimes as a means for their ‘protection’.

The seminar also provided opportunity for women to share their struggles in the light of the discussion. They shared inspiring stories of their strength and struggle against those who violate in the name of tradition.

The event took place outdoor where Ministry of human Rights had already set up information-dissemination booths on women who have contributed immensely to art and culture. Women who shared their experience were acknowledged by Jurek Juszczyk, the deputy high commissioner of Australia, who distributed shields among them.

The resource persons of the seminar included cultural scholar Mehtab Rashdi, former federal education minister Zubaida Jalal, and journalist and scholar Amar Sindhu.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2016.

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