By SHAZIA HASAN
KARACHI: The Awami Workers Party on Friday organised a programme to commemorate and highlight the struggle of women — be they labourers, peasants, office workers or housewives.
“Women who are labourers are actually the ones subsidising factories and peasant women who pick cotton in fields are subsidising companies. They may be paid Rs300 for collecting 40kg of cotton a day but what about compensation for their health? They are subsidising companies with their health,” said lawyer and teacher Abira Ashfaque.
“Many women, who work to support their families and supplement the household income here still don’t even know about Benazir Income Support Programme. So how are they to be made aware of it? The government doesn’t seem to care about them,” she added.
“There is a need for a discourse on this as is there a need to look at the work of NGOs to understand what is to be done here. We should also go towards public litigation to change diverse laws,” she said.
AWP education and culture secretary Tauqeer Chughtai read out a poem about women expected to cover their faces and remain silent.
Hamida Ghangro read her poem saluting the strong and empowered women in society.
“They take care of their children, they take care of their husbands and they go out to work, too, to earn a livelihood. They go to bed tired. They are just too busy to notice how life is passing them by but they should keep the faith and remain hopeful,” she said.
Hamida Gul said women had been wronged since time immemorial. “When a woman becomes a mother, she gives life,” she reminded, adding that just one day to commemorate women was not enough as they work 24 hours a day.
Saleha Ather urged everyone to not just talk about women’s struggles and issues. “Make up your mind to get up and do something about it,” she said.
Abida Ali said that change would come for a woman the moment she stepped out of her home.
Advocate Akhtar Hussain, general secretary of the party, said that awareness would give way to a positive change.
Yousuf Masti Khan, senior vice president of the party, said that men here were more in need of awareness and education than the woman because men needed to know that suppressing and exploiting women was wrong.