International Women’s Day Celebrated in Pakistan amidst rising fear

Adopted by the United Nations in the year 1977 and aided by the second and third waves of Feminism, this day is a reminder of the grit and determination of women all across the world.

International Women’s Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8th, is one of the most important days of the year to honour women’s accomplishments, increase awareness of women’s equality, advocate for gender parity as soon as possible, and raise funds for female-focused charities.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 (IWD 2022) is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” recognising the contributions of women and girls around the world who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response to build a more sustainable future for all.

According to UN Women, the theme for 2022 is about “recognizing the contribution of women and girls all over the world who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response to build a more sustainable future for all.”

Thousands of women are set to march in cities across Pakistan on Tuesday to mark International Women’s Day and demand greater rights in the highly conservative, male-dominated society. 

Pakistani women activists also use the occasion to draw attention to promote gender equality, increase pressure on the government to enforce domestic abuse legislation, and demand protections from rape, saying many incidences of rape and harassment go unreported.

The women also say they have received a deluge of threatening letters and phone calls ahead of the March 8 protests.

Separately, the federal minister for religious affairs in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has voiced opposition to the rallies.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, an elected member of Khan’s mainstream Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, suggested in a letter to the prime minister that Tuesday be commemorated instead as International Hijab Day.

The federal minister told Khan that no group should be allowed to ridicule Islamic values, societal norms, hijab, or modesty under the banner of Aurat (woman) or any other title, with acts he says hurt the sentiments of Muslims in the country.

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