The 100th International Women’s Day (IWD) was observed with great enthusiasm across the city on Tuesday. Various non-governmental organisations, educational institutes, civil society associations and labour unions held seminars, press conferences and marches throughout the day to commemorate the struggle of women all across the globe.
The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. 100 years on, International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a global mainstream phenomenon celebrated across many countries and is an official holiday in approximately 25 countries, including Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.
Aurat Foundation organised a seminar on “Situation of flood-affected women in Pakistan”, and it was actively participated by several women-rights activists. A documentary on the situation of women affected by the 2010 flood was also aired during the seminar.
Chanan Development Association (CDA), a national youth lead organisation in collaboration with Khawaja Rafique Shaheed Foundation (KRSF) and Global Fund for Children organised interactive dialogues through theatre at Qurban Degree College and Muslim League House in Cantt.
CDA Executive Director Muhammad Shahzad Khan, while talking on the occasion, highlighted the fact that women, particularly young women of the rural areas of Pakistan, continue to suffer from gender discrimination and violence even in this modern era. He shared that a total of 4,069 incidents of violence had been registered from January to June 2010, out of which 2,690 cases were reported from Punjab, 940 from Sindh, 342 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 56 from Balochistan and 41 from Islamabad, while there are some which went unreported. The guests included Punjab CM’s adviser, Saba Sadiq, KRSF Director and MPA, Ghazala Saad, MPA Shumaila Salman and MPA Nafisa Amin.
Centre for Human Rights Education, Lahore, also organised a seminar in which about 300 hundred women and men belonging to different walks of life participated.
Some of the demands on gender equality unanimously passed by the participants of the seminar included, the constitution and statutory laws should define discrimination and violence against women and make discriminatory actions punishable offenses, affirmative measures must be taken to revoke the discriminatory laws and customary practices such as honour killing, burying women alive, domestic violence, forced or exchange marriages, etc.
The Punjab University (PU) Department of Gender Studies Chairperson, Prof Dr Samar Fatima, led a walk at the New Campus, students and teachers taking active part in it. While addressing the participants, the VC, Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, said the importance of educating women was neglected in the past because of which they were unaware of their rights but now girls are more conscious, pointing out that this year nearly 63 percent girls got admitted to the PU on open merit, as compared to the previous year.
Later the VC also inaugurated Women Gala at the department and visited various stalls of books, fabrics, jewels, skin care, women awareness and others, put up by the students and different NGOs.
Separately, a seminar was also held by the Department of Gender and Development Studies of the Lahore College for Women University.