LAHORE, March 8: On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the Awami Workers Party (AWP) held on Friday an open-dialogue for working women at Saraye Dhobian in Model Town.
“The event was organised to encourage dialogue and discourse regarding daily issues faced by working women in the country,” said AWP’s Punjab women secretary Abida Chaudhry.
The event included a street theatre performance by Huma Safdar and folk poetry. The open session was designed to discuss day-to-day travails of working women. Organisers hoped that such dialogues would pave the way for ordinary women to build networks of solidarity amongst themselves.
Ms Chaudhry said the AWP did recognise that women’s struggles were multi-fold. Most of the world’s poor were women and they also constituted majority of the world’s labour force. Their work in the “public” sphere was exploitative and in the “domestic” sphere invisible. It was not considered productive work.
Sonia Qadir, the AWP Lahore women’s secretary, said the false dichotomy of “masculine” versus “feminine” perpetuated violence against women, both physical and psychological, and legitimised the rape culture.
“Our aim is to wrest space for the voices of ordinary women in Pakistan – voices which are mostly marginalised and often completely invisible,” she said.
“Women’s liberation cannot become a reality until working class women begin to re-take the political sphere.”
She said the multi-layered exploitation of women had created a class which had tremendous potential for revolt and capacity for leadership.
Shazia Khan, an AWP federal committee member, said her party was committed to the political, economic, social and cultural struggles of women for liberation, democracy and social justice.
Prof Dr Jamil Omar said the AWP viewed struggle of women could only be connected with wider struggles of oppressed minorities and people. He said the role of the female remained an important aspect of any just society and that the AWP would always be at the forefront for women’s rights.