Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Pakistan: The First Time Ever

Published Date: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Shirkat Gah

The festival of Mach Kacheri, celebrated in parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan, is traditionally only celebrated by men.  This year, however, WELDD women leaders defied patriarchal norms and established traditions to hold their own Mach Kacheri celebrations.  

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The festival of Mach Kacheri is celebrated in parts of Sindh and Balochistan, the South-Western provinces of in Pakistan. Translated as “meeting on fire”, Mach Kacheri is a festival to welcome and celebrate the coming of winter.  Traditionally, the occasion is only celebrated by men.  This year, however, women gathered to hold their own Mach Kacheri celebrations for the first time ever.  Defying norms and established patriarchal practices, WELDD leaders from Sindh and Balochistan organized a festival in Shahdadkot.

As part of the festival, women leaders sang and enjoyed dancing to local folk music. The WELDD leaders also used the occasion as a opportunity to highlight the social problem of early-age marriage, a practice common in the surrounding areas.  Local women staged a theatre performance highlighting the perils of early marriage, and held a press conference alongside the festival to demand effective implementation of the “Child Marriage Restraint Act”, which was followed by a rally to raise awareness on early marriage and the related problem of domestic violence.

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WELDD leaders at the Mach Kacheri celebrations they organised in Shahdadkot.
Credit: Shirkat Gah

Political and Public Participation
Culturally Justified Violence Against Women