Pakistani women have been facing patriarchy since forever. For the past few years they have been fighting for their rights using different platforms, through different campaigns. This time, it was girls on bikes or #GirlsonBikes, a hashtag that has bombarded our newsfeed.
Back in April 2016, a young woman named Aneeqa Ali was harassed in Lahore while riding her bicycle. A group of boys tailed her, hooted and eventually hit her bicycle, leaving her with a few injuries, minor ones. They tried telling her that she does not belong on the roads. How awful is that!
In response to their brutal act, several groups came together under #GirlsonBikes campaign in Karachi and Lahore. The groups included Girls at Dhabas and Critical Mass. They organised a rally in Aneeqa’s support and in support of the right of all women to occupy their city’s streets.
This year marks the third anniversary of this event and girls all over Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad took over the roads on their bikes to show the male conservatives how they have an equal share of roads.
The rally consisted of about 30-40 young women in each city while having “Ghooro Mat Rasta Do”, “Aurat Raj Aa Raha Hay”, “Cycle Chalao Patriarchy Dbao” and “Humari Sarken Humara Shehar” placards displayed by bikers.”
Ladies took over Twitter, using the hashtag #GirlsonBikes, sharing their happiness associated with the move.
— Sehar Tariq (@sehartariq) April 1, 2018
What a liberating Sunday it was, riding with these warriors through the very streets where I have been groped, harassed, cat called and stared at in the past! Guess what guys, your #TimesUp !!! #girlsonbikes #reclaimpublicspaces kudos to @girlsondhabas for 3rd annual rally! pic.twitter.com/LDLTpf63jQ
— Meesha Shafi (@itsmeeshashafi) April 2, 2018
It’s high time we stop hesitate calling ourself a feminist. Since the time we were kids, we were taught that being female was something to be proud of and it should never hold us back. We went through life knowing that we are worthy of every single opportunity any man is, and we should not be afraid of voicing that opinion. At the same time we are allowed to be a total girly girl who loves pony tails and pink color, and we can adhere to everything traditionally feminine simply because WE PREFER IT!!
Let’s support Girls On Bikes and crush patriarchy under our high heels because we prefer high heels over joggers but that won’t stop us from riding a bike.