Celebration of International women day, under the theme of ‘connecting girls, inspiring future’ held on 7th March 2012 at Arts Council Pakistan, Karachi with the collaboration of Aurat Foundation, USAID and Asia Foundation. HANDS is the partner of Aurat Foundation in GEP Project (Gender Equity Program). Various women, including political, community, and business leaders, as well as leading educators, entrepreneurs, and media personalities, were invited to speak at the celebration of International Women day. The messages given at this event focused on various themes such as gender based violence, laws orientation regarding recently passed bills specifically on sexual harassment bill, acid criminal laws and anti women practices bill and role of women in economic development. Students of universities, colleges and school participated in debates competition and talked about the importance of women in society, also shared their own journey, their influence, issues and hurdles they faced during their life. More than four hundred participants attended this celebration
Dr. Tanveer Shaikh Chief executive HANDS welcomed the guests According to him women have made vast improvements in their lives in the past few decades from holding positions in governments and other organizations. Mehnaz Rahim appreciated gender and development program of HANDS for organizing such colorful program and inviting speakers from all sectors of lives. The Gender Equity Program aims at closing the gender gap in Pakistan by proactively supporting the development of women. The program seeks to facilitate behavioral change in society by enabling women to access information, resources and institutions, and improve societal attitudes towards women’s rights issues. She also highlights the great journeys of successful women’s like Ms Naseem Hameed (Sports Girl) and Ms. Sharmeen Ubaid. Atiya Dawood presented her poetry about honesty and love. Mehtab Akber Rashidi stated that the Laws are not sufficient to protect women against centuries-old traditions. This can be changed only through an in-depth evolution that includes the disassembly of Jirgas, the effective implementation of the rule of law in every region of the country. Humaira Alvani we are still advocating the treatment of women as equal beings who deserve the basic rights to life, family, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment. We need to understand that if the law on domestic violence is passed, it will not just benefit women but also men, children and society overall. Instead of viewing the law as a gateway to freedom for women, it should simply be seen as what it is: a step towards a more civilized society. Sobia Agha said that we cannot address women’s health without looking at the economic, political and social context of their lives. Due to poverty, economic dependence, violence, discrimination and the limited power many women have over their sexual, reproductive, as well as other aspects of their lives, all have devastating consequences for women’s health.
Students of different universities and colleges participated in speech competition. They presented their journey and achievements of their life. Humaira Alvani and Mehtab Akber Rashdi presented award in Honor of their outstanding Journey. Many tabloos and theatre were performed on folk songs. The students of Karachi rural, Mithi and CMW performed a role play in this event. Various NGO’s displayed their stalls at the celebration.