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AWP reaffirms resolve to fight against patriarchy, oppression of women

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How 100,000 Russian women helped create International Women’s Day 100 years ago. The first IWWD rally at Petrograde in 1917.

The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has expressed solidarity with working women struggling for equal rights and social justice in Pakistan and around the world.

Asma Jahangir
Fahmida Riaz

In a statement issued on the International Working Women’s Day, the AWP leadership and workers resolve to revive the revolutionary and radical vision and spirit of the day, when socialist leaders like Clara Zetkin called for the liberation of women, transformation of the economy, society and social relationships.

“Let’s remember the pioneers of women rights movement like Asma Jahangir, Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan, Fehmida Riaz, Shahmim Ashraf Malik, Tasneem Minto and numerous others who stood up against tyranny of the despotic rulers and dictators in Pakistan,” it stated.

“As the world reels from the throes of patriarchal, fascist and militarist violence, we renew our call for a revolutionary struggle with women’s liberation as its focal point against oppression and exploitation in all forms and manifestations,” the statement read.

“Today, we acknowledge and remember the various ways in which oppressive structures of power including the capitalism, feudalism, religious fundamentalism, racism and militarism, are implicated with patriarchy to limit, constrain and immiserize the lives of millions of women in Pakistan and around the world.”

The party is of the view that women and marginalised communities cannot be free unless the inter-linked structures of violence and exploitation are dismantled, it pointed out.

“Today, we acknowledge that the labour of millions of women is exploited daily at homes, factories, farms, and in offices, robbing them of the opportunities, time and resources to fulfil their dreams and potential. The impunity for violence and harassment in our society has made both our homes and our streets unsafe for women and girls who cannot go through without experiencing the traumas of physical, sexual, mental and emotional violence that debilitate them, keeping them away from public spaces, education, work and power.”

Tasneem Minto, writer and activist
AWP founding member of FC and women rights activist

Countless women are killed, and subjected to abuse, violence and exploited in rural areas; many die daily from a lack of basic medical and reproductive health care, denied by both an uncaring state that refuses to accept the health of its citizens as its responsibility and a patriarchal society that refuses to prioritize women’s health; legal and institutional systems, shaped by patriarchs and justified by a self-serving religious clergy, have relegated women and sexual minorities to a secondary status, without equal rights to inheritance, testimony, or leadership, the statement read.

“We resolve to struggle for a society in which labour is fairly distributed, women are fairly paid; where women can exist and move free of fear not silenced and shamed for speaking out; where abusers can be held to account; where women and men can respectfully engage in relationships as equals; where women are able to care for and decide on matters of their health, inheritance.

Today, the rising tide of fascism, state militarism, imperialism and terrorism have pushed the world to the brink of war and destruction by inciting religious, racial and ethnic hatred, seeking to reverse women’s freedoms; and have torn apart our lands, impoverished working class, made youth fodder for war and conflict, left children orphaned without the care of their fathers and women homeless and widowed.

“In our region, these ideologies and actions have affected in particular the Baloch, Pakhtun, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Hazara, and Gilgit-Baltistani women, among others, who have been forced to struggle for their basic right to live and breathe as free citizens.

“We resolve to push back the rise of fascism and assert more strongly than ever the need for women’s leadership to build a genuine progressive and egalitarian alternative to fascism, capitalism and imperialism, and to create a society free from weapons of mass destruction, warmongering, state violence, abductions, and terror.

“Today, we acknowledge that capitalist greed for profit has pushed the climate of the planet to the brink of disaster because of the rampant exploitation of resources and the

“We resolve to struggle for the restoration of the climatic balance necessary for the continued sustenance of human life.

“Today, we call upon all women, men, and other genders to resolve to struggle together for a world without violence and fear, in which all our aspirations can co-exist without any exploitation.
Until we are all free, none of us are free,” the statement concludes.

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