LAHORE: The Awami Workers Party held a rally on Sunday to mark International Working Women’s Day. The day is celebrated worldwide on March 8.
Hundreds of party activists, including brick kiln workers, home-based workers, industrial workers and carpet weavers, gathered in front of Lahore Press Club for the rally under the theme Aurat Bina Siyasat Adhoori.
They stressed the need for women’s participation at all levels of the political process. They appreciated the passage of the Women Protection Act but demanded criminalisation of domestic violence. They also demanded strict enforcement of the law.
A feminist school was later arranged at the party’s headquarters. AWP activist Aimen Bucha outlined the history of the feminist struggle. She said the ‘fight’ was against the existing patriarchal system, and not against men. She said patriarchy had outlived various economic systems, transforming its form and content. She said patriarchal oppression could be seen in everyday lives of men and women. “It impacts how they live their lives. It runs across class divides but the experience of oppression is different for women with different class backgrounds.”
Bucha said the primary job of women in a capitalist patriarchal system was to produce workers and, thus, help reproduce the system. “This kind of feminine subjectivity has been presented to women as something natural. It renders invisible women’s unpaid labour,” she said.
On women working outside their homes, Bucha said they, too, faced problems such as lack of equality of opportunity and restriction to work in professions deemed appropriate for women. She said more professions had opened up for women. “However, the idea that men are good at some professions and women at others has persisted.” Party activist Sonia Qadir said radical politics should cover all aspects of everyday life and should not be limited to electoral politics only. She said feminist socialist politics needed to take into consideration the problems faced by women, including restricted mobility, harassment and reluctance to speak up at a public forum.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2016.
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