The Karachi Literature Festival, which is taking place this weekend, is going to be full of discussions on a wide range of topics such as Education in Pakistan: A Roller Coaster Ride, and the Story of Qawalli, to name a few.
Another talk titled ‘Financial Inclusion and Woman Empowerment’, hosted a panel which was exclusively male. Yep. A talk about WOMEN empowerment did not include a single female in the entire panel of speakers. Even the host is a man! And twitter had thoughts:
Great work Oxford University Press and Karachi Literature Festival! What can be more effective than not having a single woman on a panel discussing/moderating women empowerment. Excellent idea. pic.twitter.com/Mugh8IC5U9
— Nayab (@durre_nayab_) February 21, 2020
Here’s what a panel on financial inclusion for women looks like – a home-based entrepreneur, a female bank president, a ministry of human rights representative, a leader in the fashion industry and a communications head of a ride-sharing app – all women pic.twitter.com/RpDEP2EvkR
— Amber Rahim Shamsi (@AmberRShamsi) February 21, 2020
Women empowerment is a faux pas, introduced by capitalists, who are willing to share the tiniest fraction of their looted wealth with some women. However, Women want FREEDOM!@KarachiLitFest is a joke! Haven't they learnt anything from mass wrath against #manels ? https://t.co/dwzohR6CCR
— Minhaaj (@sur_inqilabi) February 21, 2020
— nuwanda (@manalkhan07) February 21, 2020
Not only that, KLF also plans on hosting a talk about student activism without a single student representative from Sindh who successfully pressued the Sindh government towards a legislation on Student union bills:
KLF is doing a panel on student politics and none of the speakers are invited from those 14 student bodies who worked hard to organise students solidarity march in Karachi and pushed Sindh government for legislation on student unions bill. It is shameful @KarachiLitFest
— Hamza Baloch (@laalbaji) February 20, 2020
I see no student activists from Karachi on a panel on Student Activism in @KarachiLitFest and only old men who's time is far gone. We're not short on people from all of Sindh, who are the actual representatives of the Student March 2019, pls do tell @NadeemfParacha what happened
— nuwanda (@manalkhan07) February 20, 2020
As of now, the panel titled ‘Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment’ has made room for one woman, Ayesha Aziz, after the intense backlash from women and men all over Pakistan. A step in the right direction, sure, but not enough.
Will you be attending KLF 2020? Or has the festival lost the plot?