South Asian Women’s Day is celebrated each year on 30th November. On this day, Sangat – A South Asian Feminist Network, its partners, and other civil society organisations across the South Asian regions, as an act of cross-border solidarity, come together to raise their voices for peace, justice, human rights and democracy, and celebrate the women working for this across the region.
This year, it was celebrated in various parts of South Asia including Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. It comprised of performing arts like poetry, classical dance performances, stand-up comedy, and movie screening.
Nepal Mahila Ekta Samaj together with Tewa, Homenet Nepal, Mahila Adhikar Manch, honoured the memory of Nepali Feminist, Yog Maya Neupane and other feminists who worked rigorously for the coming generations, through street arts, flash mobs, and performing arts.
In India, the day was celebrated across various States like Kolkata, Shilong, Odisha, and Delhi.
The core members of Sangat Bangladesh, Khushi Kabir and Fawzia Khodker, celebrated this day in Dhaka with various dramas and musical performances centered on #MeToo, which also was the theme of the event. Various activists participated in the event and also shared their personal instances of the #MeToo movement.
The Chevening Alumni in Sri Lanka organised a panel discussion on the women in Governance addressing the quota system and women’s participation in public. The panelists included politicians like Jeevani Kariyawasam, Tisreena Mohamed Ismalebbe, development practitioner Maithreyi Rajasingam, and feminist researcher and activists like Chulani Kodikara and Thiyagi Piyadasa.
North East Network Shillong felicitated 8 grassroot women activists from Meghalaya.
In India, the day was celebrated across various States like Kolkata, Shilong, Odisha, and Delhi. Swayam Kolkata celebrated South Asian Women’s Day at Rotary Sadan with a screening of South Asian films on sexual harassment followed by a panel discussion which sought to answer questions around addressing daily harassment, on creating safe spaces for women at home, public spaces and at work.
North East Network Shillong did a 16 days campaign for celebrating the day and felicitated 8 grassroot women activists from Meghalaya who work rigorously to address women’s human rights issues.
NAWO Odisha organised a dharna and a candlelight march to express solidarity with South Asian feminists and the #MeToo movement.
One Billion Rising, Delhi, celebrated by commemorating decriminalisation of homosexuality and the #me too movement. Eminent dancer Navtej Johar, who was also one of the petitioners against 377, shared a beautiful performance. US based Dance Company of women of color, Ananya Dance Theatre shook the stage with their people powered dances of transformation. Zila Khan, a renowned Sufi artist shared some beautiful melodies and the amazing children of SMS and CEQUIN also put up vibrant performances.
Sangat team and secretariat of One Billion Rising South Asia which organised the SAWD celebrations in Delhi talked about the importance of cross border feminist solidarity. They said “We believe that people especially women, people of LGBTQI groups and gender non confirming people across South Asia have common concerns which makes it important for us to stand with each other in cross border feminist solidarity.”
The event was an initiative to engage each and everyone around in a dialogue concerning the issues of peace, justice, human rights and democracy and at the same time stress on the importance of regional solidarity.
Featured Image Source: Sangat