In a bid to claim public spaces, women from an organisation called Girls at Dhabas staged bicycle rallies across several cities in Pakistan.
Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi were among the cities where a female-only bikers’ group raced on April 2. The event was organised to make the roads simpler, safer and empowering for women. It was also taken up as a challenge to fight sexism and to dominate the male-dominated public spaces in the country.
“Our strategy is simply to be visible in public spaces,” said Meher Bano of Girls at Dhabas, reports Reuters
The event was planned after a woman from Lahore was harassed, pushed off her bicycle by a group of men last year when the woman ignored their vulgar catcalling comments.
These women challenged the patriarchal mindset towards women. “We are letting that space go and society is getting more narrow-minded,” said Bano, one of riders.
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The ‘Girls on Bikes’ endorses women’s participation in public events and encourages awareness among women.
“I drive on these roads all the time but this was maybe the first time I got to experience them while biking,” said Humay Waseem, one of the riders on the 5-kilometre race around Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
The Girls At Dhaba group came to the fore in 2015, when they took to social media to post pictures of a group of Pakistani women eating and chilling at roadside eateries, which were typically frequented by men.
“I loved the feeling of freedom with the breeze in my hair,” said another rider.
According to Bano, almost 200 million people are under the age of 30 in Pakistan.
Well done, Ladies!!
Feature Image Credit: GIRLS AT DHABAS/TUMBLR
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