The Aurat March are protests organized in various cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Hyderabad, Karachi and Islamabad, to observe International Women’s Day on March 8th 2018, and again the following years.
It was organised in Lahore and Karachi by a women’s collective called Hum Auratein (We the Women), and in other parts of the country, including Islamabad, Hyderabad, Quetta, Mardan, and Faislabad, by Women democratic front (WDF), Women Action Forum (WAF), and others. The march was endorsed by the Lady Health Workers Association, and included representatives from multiple women’s-rights organizations. The march called for accountability for violence against women, and support for women who experience violence and harassment at the hands of security forces, in public spaces, at home, and at the workplace.
Reports suggest that more and more women rushed to join the march until the crowd became scattered. Women (as well as men) carried posters bearing phrases such as ‘Ghar ka Kaam, Sab ka Kaam’, and ‘Women are humans, not honour’ became a rallying cry.
Women dressed in T-shirts that read ‘my favorite season is the fall (of patriarchy)’ and ‘girls just want fun-damental human rights’ (i.e. Fundamental rights that includes right to enjoy “Fun” also).
Some wore masks of deceased social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch and one group held ‘patriarchy’s janaza’ (funeral procession of patriarchy) on their shoulders. Participants were from all walks of life and included many eminent people. Social media and YouTube video messages expressed support for those who were marching. Nimra Afzal claimed in her article, that Aurat March is a women’s empowerment movement which is not restricted to just peace rallies, raising awareness placards or sloganeering for women’s equality in a patriarchal society.
The movement is just not man-hating or elitist but a movement that asks for public spaces, with hashtags like #JaggaDein (Give space)