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February 24, 2020

Meeting discusses issues faced by women from marginalised communities

Karachi

February 24, 2020

Participants in a consultative meeting on Saturday said women from marginalised communities in Pakistan face a number of issues owing to their religious and gender expressions.

The Q Karachi, a group working for the rights of women from minority communities organised the consultation. Kami Sid, a transgender activist and model, moderated the session.

Members from academia, civil society and media attended the meeting and took part in the discussion about the struggles faced by marginalized women

Dr. Sara Shroff, an academic at the Mark S Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, gave a presentation on the struggles women in Pakistan face owing to their religious and gender expressions.

In a panel discussion, panellists, including Seema Maheswari, a human rights activist from a religious minority, Romessa William, an activist working for the trans women rights, Hani Baloch, a representative of ethnic minority and Rumaisa Ahmed, a core committee member for the Q Karachi, identified issues faced by women from religious minorities and those who have a variant gender expression.

Lack of financial and bodily autonomy, threats and violence committed against them and the general lack of awareness and acknowledgment of these issues was the crux of their discussion, a press statement said.

“As per statistics, women do not have any bodily, financial or social autonomy in our societies and in the UNDP Human development index report 2019, Pakistan ranks at 151 out of 153 for the global gender parity index,” the press statement quoted the participants as saying.

“The discussions brought to light biases of the people that root from ignorance and how by forming a body, claiming presence and holding the event, Q Karachi is taking the first step in acknowledging this problem.”

They observed that a patriarchal society enforces gender roles that prove to be bounding women from making choices let alone set preferences.

They also said that physical punishments, the anguish of being cast out of family, predation and harassment by outsiders, mental torture by relatives are far too common and it is high time “we start addressing this minority group that is so severely deprived of their basic human rights”.