Friday April 12, 2024

Mehnatkash Aurat Rally to be held in city on Women’s Day

By Our Correspondent
March 05, 2024
Demonstrators hold placards and shout slogans as they march during the Aurat March to mark International Womens Day. — AFP/File
Demonstrators hold placards and shout slogans as they march during the Aurat March to mark International Women's Day. — AFP/File

A Mehnatkash Aurat Rally will be held in the city on International Women’s Day, which is observed every March 8. The rally will begin at Fawara Chowk near the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and culminate at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.

Making the announcement during a press conference at the KPC on Monday, a group of women and human rights activists, and labour leaders said their rally would feature speeches from prominent women leaders representing various resistance movements.

They said the attendees may expect revolutionary songs and theatrical performances highlighting women’s rights and their ongoing struggles. The organisers anticipate a significant turnout, with thousands of participants including workers, labourers, fishermen, healthcare workers, transgender persons, journalists, teachers and women fighting against enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

They also said that this year’s International Women’s Day rally carries the central theme of ‘Women’s Resistance: For Democratic Freedom, Economic Autonomy and Social Security’. Explaining their demand for the protection of democratic freedoms, they said that increased participation of women in political and economic decision-making would ensure their freedom of expression and an end to enforced disappearances. About their demand for economic autonomy for women, they said that equal pay for equal work and eradication of discriminatory practices at workplaces can improve economic opportunities for women.

Regarding their demand for social security as a fundamental right, they said that access to social security benefits for working women would protect them against unemployment, low wages and unfair working conditions.

They also condemned Israeli atrocities against women and children in Gaza on the occasion as well as denounced the recent acts of violence against women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Lahore. They expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people, and called for an independent Palestinian state.

They said their rally would advocate for several key demands, including registering all workers with social security and pension institutions, eliminating discriminatory laws and inhumane treatment of women at workplaces, and taking concrete measures to prevent sexual harassment, violence, abduction and forced religious conversion.

Their demands also included abolishing wage disparities and bonded labour, providing maternity compensation for female labourers, ending the contract labour system, resolving the issue of forced disappearances, taking legal action against the perpetrators, bringing land reforms and supporting farmers.

The organisers urged all women, political activists and human rights defenders to participate in the Mehnatkash Aurat Rally, and stand in solidarity with women resisting across Pakistan. Those who were present at the press conference included the Home-Based Women Workers Federation’s Zehra Khan, the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons’ Sami Baloch, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Asad Iqbal Butt, transgender activist Kami Sid, the Sindh Agriculture General Workers Union’s Subhagi Bheel, the Peoples Labour Bureau’s Habibuddin Junaidi and the National Trade Union Federation’s Nasir Mansoor.