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November 28, 2020

‘Growing tendency of violence against women shows society’s ill-mentality’

Karachi

November 28, 2020

Speakers at an event marking International Day against Violence against Women on Friday linked the growing tendency of violence against women to “ill-mentality of our society”, saying that the society’s freedom was linked to the freedom of women.

Speaking at the event held in a New Karachi neighbourhood, Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) general secretary Zehra Akbar Khan said women could be accepted as complete human beings only by ending all norms of patriarchy: social, political and economic.

She said women across the world were fighting for their rights and against all sorts of discriminatory treatment against them. “Violence on women has become a part of daily life in the whole world.”

Khan regretted that in this modern era the access of women to healthcare facilities was negligible, and every day more than 800 women died daily due to childbirth-related complications, 95 per cent of them in developing countries.

At present, 836 million people were living beneath the poverty line in the world and they were deprived of their basic rights, she noted. “Today, there is a big difference in wages of male and female workers. Every year 700 million girls are married before attaining 18 years of age, and of them 250 million girls are married off before they reach the age of 15 years.”

She said the day was designated as International Day against Violence on Women in 1999 by the general assembly of the UN. This day is observed in memory of three revolutionary real sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Tresa, who waged a struggle against dictator Dominica Rafael Trujillo (1930-61) who was notorious for sexual harassment.

The Mirabal Sisters and their husbands were subjected to torture and arrest, but they did not budge and gave the sacrifice of their lives, which resulted in the freedom of their country. These three sisters were later recognised as the icons of women’s rights and remembered as Unforgettable Butterflies.

Other speakers demanded an end to all discriminatory laws against women and harassment of women at workplaces, and the setting up of anti-harassment committees at all workplaces. They also demanded an end to the gender-based disparity in wages, and asked the federal government to ratify the ILO Convention 190, make laws in its light and prevent anti-women content from being published and broadcast by media organisations and textbooks.