RAWALPINDI: Speakers at a talk arranged by the Awami Worker’s Party (AWP) suggested that socialist feminism is needed in order to address the social and economic oppression faced by women and that liberal feminism, along which most NGOs operate, is not helping.

They said making laws will not resolve women’s issues because even progressive laws cannot be implemented properly in a capitalist and feudal society.

The talk on Wednesday in the AWP office in Rawalpindi, which was about social feminism in Sindh, was opened by Alya Bakhshal who is AWP’s women’s secretary in Sindh and is the founder of the Women’s Democratic Front (WDF).

Ms Bakhshal talked about her experiences while forming WDF and making women aware of socialist feminism.

She explained the history of the movement for the empowerment of women and how it suffered during Zia’s dictatorship. The movement for women’s empowerment has been depoliticised due to an increase in the number if NGOs, she added.

There has even been opposition to the movement from the left, Ms Bakhshal said.

“Some leftist political parties would insist that women’s issues will be addressed after class barriers were dealt with and national liberation is achieved,” she said.

“However, women’s liberation cannot be an afterthought because patriarchy is linked to other social menaces including capitalism and racism,” she added.

The women in urban areas of Sindh and those from the upper and middle classes have gained many freedoms in the recent years, she said.

“But even for these women, who come from progressive families and are encouraged to work and study, are still faced with opposition when they try to enter politics. Women are influenced by the society and are not confident in certain situations when they are surrounded by men,” she said.

This is why, Ms Bakhshal added, there was a need for a women’s front in Sindh which will help women organise themselves politically while associated with AWP.

WDF organises study circles amongst women in Hyderabad so they can gain a better understanding about feminism and socialism and also publishes a regular magazine about women’s issues from a socialist perspective. It also mobilises women for various causes.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...
March in Pindi
Updated 26 Nov, 2022

March in Pindi

WITH the chief’s appointment out of the way and the army intent on staying out of politics, the fight is now down...
Tough IMF position
26 Nov, 2022

Tough IMF position

THE IMF has made it clear that Pakistan’s “timely finalisation of the [flood] recovery plan” — the key ...
The youth vote
26 Nov, 2022

The youth vote

PAKISTAN is an overwhelmingly young nation, with about 64pc of the population under 30. Yet our political system has...