LAHORE:09 March: International Women’s Day was observed in different parts of the city by various governmental and non-governmental organisations, however, these celebrations and protests were marked by a notable absence of working class women. The major event of the day was a rally organised by Awami Workers Party, Feminist Collective, Women Collective, Digital Rights Foundation and other organisations. It started from Hamdard Hall Lytton Road and culminated at Chairing Cross in front of Punjab Assembly. The protesters were carrying banners demanding empowerment of women and end to violence against women. An activist of Feminist Collective, Saliha Rauf said women protest against oppression that was enforced by state, patriarchy and were struggling for women emancipation from every kind of exploitation. Another activist and member of Women Collective Aimen Bucha told The Express Tribune their struggle was against suppression of every kind whether it was patriarchy, class-based exploitation through capitalism, nationality or religion. A programme related to the inaugural ceremony of First Women Development Policy under the aegis of Women Development Department, to commemorate International Women’s Day was organised at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. The programme was attended by provincial ministers Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz and Begum Hameedauddin and a large number of women ministers, members of national and provincial assemblies. On the occasion, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz paid tributes to all the women who played their role in different sectors of life. The International Women’s Day was also celebrated at Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) Qurban Lines Lahore. A large number of female workers of PSCA and their male counterpart attended the event. Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal, ASP Defence Bushra Jameel and the widow of Captain (retd) Ahmed Mubeen also attended the event. “This day promotes the rights and irrefutable significance of women”, said chief guest Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal speaking to the audience. “No society can attain optimum productivity until it learns to employ the potentials of its both halves equally,” she concluded her thoughts.Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2018.