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Campaign against sexist, misogynistic jokes launched

Campaign against sexist, misogynistic jokes launched

KARACHI: On Pakistan Women’s Day being observed on Feb 12, a research, resource and publication centre dedicated to the cause of gender equality and women’s development has launched a campaign to create awareness and demonstrate zero tolerance for sexist jokes, humour, dialogue and language at all forums.

Launched by Uks, the campaign #NOTFUNNY aims at raising awareness that sexist and misogynistic jokes and humour belittle women and should not be taken as a source of laughter and entertainment.

“Through this campaign, Uks is paying its tribute to each and every woman who has stood up against gender inequality and/or fights for her or other women’s rights,” says a press release.

As part of its advocacy campaign, on Jan 29, Uks held an interactive panel discussion titled ‘This is not funny’ where the increased use of sexist and misogynistic jokes, humour and language in the mainstream media as well as social media (including WhatsApp) was discussed.

One of the take-home messages from this discussion was the fact that no campaign could be successful unless it reaches people across the board, is owned by people from all walks of life and is emphatic.

“The campaign aims at raising awareness on everyday sexism, encourage everyone to share experiences, bringing together men and women, differentiate good humour from bad/sick humour and satire and build up a case against sexism in a manner that it becomes inarguable.

It also highlights why Feb 12 was dedicated to Pakistani women and says that 36 years ago women of Lahore defying Section 144, marched against anti-women laws.

This was also the first public demonstration by any group against a martial law regime. And for the first time in the history of Pakistan, women were baton-charged and the police used heavy tear gas.

“Many women were injured and many were arrested. Supportive men, including the great rebel poet Habib Jalib who also was severely beaten, joined in this landmark protest by fearless women. From then onwards, there was no looking back. Women under the umbrella of Women’s Action Forum got united to fight for their rights. The struggle continues, as ‘there is one step forward, and two steps back’. Feb 12 has now been acknowledged and commemorated as Pakistan Women’s Day.”

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019

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