Islamabad’s first ever #GirlsAtDhabas Meetup

Snobers Alan D’Cruz applauds women who are changing the narrative by taking simple steps towards gender equality and empowerment.

In the midst of Pakistan’s political affairs hub, a group of 11 working women ambitiously gathered at a local dhaba (a small tea shop traditionally considered a men’s-only place) to support and participate in a brilliant movement #GirlsAtDhabas to reclaim public spaces for women as they hope to change the mindset and reclaim Pakistan’s public spaces. The group sat at the dhaba to have tea while standing against social norms, gender expectations and challenges. Meetup plays an important to empower women and build community for the greater good at large.

Women are traditionally not accepted at dhabas, without being covered or having a male escort. By using the hashtag #GirlsAtDhabas, women around Pakistan are posting pictures on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, of themselves at dhabas or playing sports. This is an important movement, seeing as, “The Gender Gap Index of the Global Gender Gap Report of 2014 by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, ranked Pakistan second-to-last in gender equality globally in access to health care, education, and work,”

While #GirlsAtDhabas is using a seemingly simple way of approaching the issue, it is a step in the right direction to move beyond just awareness and placards, and take real, tangible and practical action. Years of misconceived and gender-related ideologies can be deconstructed and changed when both genders are willing to take a stand and take a step forward, together.

Following #GirlsAtDhabas, the initiators behind the movement also plan to open a women-run dhaba that will serve as a haven for people marginalized by gender and sexuality and act as the  movement’s HQ, allowing the movement to “evolve into a sustainable organization that can consolidate its efforts and widen its scope/reach.”

Support this excellent gender equality movement #GirlsAtDhabas – build community through chai (tea).

This article was previously published here

Image Credit: Snobers Alan D’Cruz

About the writer:

Snober is an M.Phil. Student working with Pakistan Innovation Foundation. Write for Unicorn Black. State Department, ARID University, University of Punjab and Comsats University Alumni. USAID Student Ambassador 2008. Social Media Consultant. Personally working for women empowerment and Anti-Child Labor In Pakistan. Run an online campaign Innocence. Provided facilitation with regard to Culture, Tech and Education to USAID, American Institute of Research, ED-Links, Federal Directorate of Education.


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