16 days of activism in Pakistan
In a country stained with staunch patriarchal mindset, values and systems it is not easy to break the internal shackles at a personal level. It is strikingly easy to shout slogans, attend trainings and arrange seminars. As me, as a man, as a husband, or as a brother it is not easy to reverse the roles and bring out the feminine side within each one of us as a human.
While launching our drive to celebrate the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”, at ActionAid Pakistan we arranged a mock demonstration in which males primarily youth were invited for a walk around in the Press Club at Islamabad. The “Wear HER shoes; Feel HER Woes, through your Toes” involved wearing of women’s shoes by men and walk as briskly and safely as men do in their own shoes. This was an innovate approach to symbolically express and represent concern over the issues, systemic discriminations and glitches faced by women and to convey the message that “you only know where it hurts-when you are in that situation”. A lot of them were so hesitant by the thought of it and they left before it started. The thought that this small act will challenge their masculinity, role and position is heart breaking for most of the men.
The change from “within” is the foremost for each and every change that we want to see happening in the world around us. Women rights as a change agenda needs to be internalized adopted and believed by each one of in order to transform it from rhetoric into a reality.