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Here’s how men can participate in Karachi’s first Aurat March

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 6, 2018 | Last Updated: 4 years ago
Posted: Mar 6, 2018 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

Minerwa Tahir

KARACHI: If you are a man who wants to be an ally and participate in the Aurat March in Karachi, all you need to do is get two women to accompany you to the march.

Aurat March is happening on Thursday, March 8. Women will lead a rally from Frere Hall to celebrate International Women’s Day. Similar marches will take place in Lahore and Islamabad.

No party or NGO is taking credit for organising it in Karachi. Instead, a group of women have joined hands and are calling themselves ‘Hum Aurtain’. Their demands include end to violence against women and reproductive justice. ‘Hum Aurtain’ have funded the march through individual donations and have declined funding from any other source.

Watch: Aurat March is coming to Karachi this Women’s Day!

There have been some negative comments on the event’s Facebook page. One video of a woman from Gilgit-Baltistan expressing solidarity had to be taken down after some people left threatening comments.

There are men who are curious about the march. For those interested in taking part, the rule is simple: come along with two women. Atiya Abbas, a young organiser, said that men who are against patriarchy should join. “Men who believe that patriarchy is a system that oppresses everyone, regardless of gender, should be part of the March,” she said. “This isn't a who-is-invited and who-isn't contest. If men who identify as cis heterosexual men believed in equality, they will come. We have mostly gotten crass comments on social media but many men in my circle have been very supportive.”

The rule is there “so that men stop dominating the conversation and symbolically our resistance”.

“Men have access to many spaces because the system allows them,” she said. “It is like the quote from Soultired on Tumblr ‘Men who want to be feminist allies do not need to be given a space in feminism. They need to take the space they have in society and make it feminist’. And this is one way of symbolically doing that. If you are a male feminist, you will bring the women you know to the march. As for ensuring they follow this rule, we can only hope men know and do better.”
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