A Session on the theme of “Women living in different Circumstances” organized by Q Karachi a non-governmental organization on Saturday at a local hotel in Karachi.
The meeting hosted by transgender activist and model, Kami, honorable members from academia, civil society and media came together to discuss the struggles faced by marginalized women.
The panelists identified issues faced by women from religious minorities and those who have a variant gender expression.
Lack of financial and bodily autonomy, threats and violence committed against them and the general lack of awareness and acknowledgment of these issues was the key focus of this meeting.
Panelists include Seema Maheswari (human rights activist for women of religious minorities), Romessa William (activist for transwomen), Hani Baloch (representative of ethnic minority Baloch) and Rumaisa Ahmed (core committee member for Q Karachi).
Dr. Sara Shroff, a notable researcher in the field of feminist values and human rights gave a presentation on the struggles of women in Pakistan face owing to their religious and gender expressions. She is a sexuality scholar who is extremely well-versed in the topics of gender construct and sexual orientation.
It was learned that, Q Karachi- is a small body of women that aims to highlight the plight of extremely marginalized women who face discrimination based on their gender expression.
As per statistics, women do not have any bodily, financial or social autonomy in our societies and in the UNDP Human development index report 2019, Pakistan ranks at 151 out of 153 for the Global gender parity index.
It is to be noted that a patriarchal society enforces gender roles that prove to be bounding women from making choices let alone set preferences. Trespassing the limits can have horrible consequences and that’s what most of the women in our group have faced since their childhood.
It could be because of the way they dress, the way they talk, them challenging traditions and rules or simply existing outside the stiff norms set by their family and society.
Physical punishments, the anguish of being cast out of family, predation, and harassment by outsiders, mental torture by relatives are far too common and it is high time we start addressing this minority group that is so severely deprived of their basic human rights.
The discussions brought to light biases of the people that root from ignorance and how by forming a body, claiming presence and holding today’s session, Q Karachi is taking the first step in acknowledging this problem.
Friends and allies from academic, civil society and media came together in solidarity and sought to continue facilitating conversations to highlight the struggles of women with varying gender expressions.
Representative of the organization told that, We strongly anticipate that creating awareness will allow people to make more informed choices when treating such women. That it will create a kinder, diverse, tolerant, and a more empathetic society that will treat all its subjects as equals.