Saturday, December 3

 (CITY): Word Day: Violence on women termed result of sick mentality in society

KARACHI:,,, Growing tendency of violence against women shows ill-mentality of our society. The freedom of society is linked to the freedom of women, said the speakers of a gathering, organized by the Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) in New Karachi on the occasion of International Day against Violence against Women.

HBWWF general secretary Zehra Akbar Khan, speaking of the occasion, said that women could be accepted as complete human being only by ending all norms of patriarchy: social, political and economic. She said this day of was designated as the international day against violence on women in 1999 by the general assembly of the UN. This day is being observed in the memory of three revolutionary real sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Tresa, who waged a struggle against dictator of 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 sacrifice of their lives, which resulted in the freedom of their country. These three sisters were later recognized as the icons of women rights and remembered as Unforgettable Butterflies.

She said that women in whole world are fighting for their rights and against all sorts of discriminatory treatment against them. She said; however, violence on women has become the part of daily life in whole world. She regretted that in this modern era the access of women to healthcare facilities is negligible. Every day more than 800 women die daily due to child-birth related complications, 95percent of them in developing countries. Presently 836 million people live beneath the poverty line in the world and these people are deprived of their basic rights. Today there is 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 sexual harassment is the basis of male-dominated system to compel women accepting a forced inferiority. She said the roots of this system are deep in personal possession of the means of production. She said dictatorial behaviors, violence against the weaker segments of society, uneven distribution of wealth and disrespecting women are the hallmarks of this system.

She said it is high time that women should challenge the structure of this oppression based society and its mindset, which does not consider the women as a human being. She said the real change is possible only women become organized and adopt principles of communism and take part in democratic movements. For this it is necessary that they should study and raise their awareness which would lead them to bring a real change and gender equality. She said when women decide to struggle for their rights no one can deter them from achieving their targets. She urged the women to raise a loud and clear voice for their rights.

Zehra Akbar said our working women are also fighting a decisive war against undemocratic mindset and patriarchy, like the Unforgettable Butterflies. They also are fighting for the social and political issues.

It was announced that thousands of working women would take part in the rally scheduled on November 29 against price hike, violence against women and slavery of IMF.

The speakers demanded to end all discriminatory laws against women. They asked to stop harassment of women at workplaces and set up anti-harassment committees at all workplaces. They demanded to end gender-based disparity in wages. They asked the government of Pakistan to ratify the ILO Convention 190 and make laws in its light and purge anti-women content from publication and broadcasting of media organizations, and textbooks.

Those spoke also included HBWWF president Zahida Mukhtar, United HB Garments Workers Union General Secretary Saira Feroze, home based workers Shazia Yaqoob and others.