Amidst all the negative hype around it, the Aurat March was conducted successfully in Pakistan on the 8th of March, 2020. The day marks a landmark victory for all those who aim to bring structural differences in the society, between men and women.
However, despite this success, there seems to be a very long way until the residents of the country can see the violence against women and the discrimination mellowing down. Nonetheless, the awareness is getting widespread, with more and more women getting aware of their rights and ways to get them.
Every year, the world celebrates Women’s Day on the 8th of March. People, all around the globe, hail women for their successful careers, achievements, victories, and accomplishments. At the same time, a voice is generated to bring women on an equal level to the men, be it about the wage gap, right to education, right to choose a career or right to have freedom of choice. Pakistan, however, lags when it comes to deciding what are the ‘rights of women’.
The society is divided over the simple issue of what the rights of a woman entail. Where the basic human right of ‘right to education’ is disputed at the tribal areas, the ‘right to inheritance’ is dubious almost all over the country. So much so that the even mere posters and panel discussions of the demand for such rights ignite the retaliation from the male counterparts.
The latest feud of the famous drama righter Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar and Marvi Sirmed, a political commentator, fanned the flames of this hatred even more. Social media fans took sides and defended their favored personalities, which further led to the spread of hate against the Aurat March. The slogan of ‘Mera Jisam, Meri Marzi’ was surely powerful enough to have divided the society into two parts.
Nonetheless, despite all this giblet and pillory, the organizers of Aurat March ensured to make it a lively event. In Lahore, the march was initiated at the Lahore Press Club where hundreds of men and women held up interesting posters, displaying their willingness to fight the patriarchal and discriminatory system of the society.
Islamabadies were no less. When an unidentified religious group tried to disrupt the motion of the attendees by stone-pelting, they called the police that controlled the state of affairs, immediately. The injured were rushed to the nearby hospitals.
The question that arises here is whether a single aurat march in a year enough to provide the due rights to the women living in our society? Is it possible to overhaul the entire system and bring a change, which would aid the condition of women? The answer is NO. Where events like Aurat March are surely a source of great inspiration for the women vying to put their message across, we need much more than merely a single, yearly event. The issue is structural, which will not be solved as long as our institutions will stay gendered and our customs remain patriarchal.