NEW DELHI – Marking International Working Women’s Day, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS), an organization working for women’s rights, organized a demonstration at Jantar Mantar demanding equality against patriarchy on Sunday.
Women’s workforce from different sectors such as factories, private offices, lawyers, and domestic help and other sectors as well participated in the sit-in gathering.
The participants were carrying placards, having messages such as ‘Down with state attacks on freedom of choice’, ‘No to Manuwad’, and ‘pro-corporate policies attacking women’s Freedom of choice’.
They were also raising slogans such as ‘Down with feudal culture’, and ‘Down with patriarchy’. The women groups were demanding registration of women working in factories from the Delhi government and accountability of senior police officers in cases of violence against women in public places.
The demonstration was held by Vice President of PMS advocate KB Hina and joint secretary Reema.
Advocate Shobha while addressing the gathering said, “women’s freedom of choice in the matter of education is under serious attacks as Govt schools, colleges are being shut down, higher education has become so very expensive, the possibility of reservations in higher education withers away with almost total privatization, common women aspiring for education can’t pay the fees of even secondary schools, and regular jobs are a thing of the past”.
She further said that the vast majority of even upper caste majority religion women and girls find themselves deprived of a chance for higher education, permanent jobs or regular wages.
She stressed, “All these losses reinforce patriarchal clutches of family and society at large for all women irrespective of their caste and religion”.
Criticizing the government campaigns such as the ‘Bahu-Beti campaign’, ‘love jihad law’ and ‘anti-conversion law’, general secretary of PMS, Poonam Kaushik said, “all such campaigns are deliberately designed and brought into force to trample the women’s freedom to marry the person of their choice and to snatch their right to freely interact with other sections of society”.
She said, “All this is being done on the pretext of ‘protection of women’ but it further marginalizes women.”
“Those who follow the rule of the social code of Manu, as also followed by the RSS-backed Central government are patriarchal rules as women of even dominant/ upper castes of majority religion don’t enjoy the freedom of choice. They are being asked to follow a secondary status”, she added.
She further said, “In the same social ladder, if upper caste women are being treated as secondary, the Dalit women do not even count at all. They are considered lower than the lowest. This is Manu’s decree.”
She condemned the central government for incarcerating many women and students in jails under the UAPA, merely for dissenting or for taking part in struggles.
The gathering further expressed solidarity with the women struggling around the world against imperialism and patriarchy.
PMS Delhi Committee members Suman, Shehnaz, Ania Khan and Rashmi also addressed the gathering.
They demanded immediate action and justice for all women wrestlers and women speaking against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Of other several issues concerning women, the protesting women demanded the release of all those arrested for the alleged offence of child marriages in Assam.
They also demand serious intervention from Yogi Government in Uttar Pradesh to challenge the acquittal of the accused of rape and murder case of a Dalit Woman in Hathras in 2020.
PMS gave a call to women of the country to unite and fight back against the policies which are tightening patriarchal bonds against women.
It further calls upon women to intensify the struggle for defending and expanding freedom of choice, say no to Manuvad and intensify the struggles against patriarchy and work for unity between women in different democratic struggles.