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Ready to Talk About Feminism: an All-Male Panel

2 women have since been added to event in Pakistan after major pushback
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2019 5:05 PM CST
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Nick White)

(Newser) – When the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi named an upcoming event "Feminism: The Other Perspective," it soon became clear that "other perspective" was uncomfortably accurate: The panel set to meet Friday was male only. The blowback in a country already known for being overly patriarchal was instant for this event, which organizers billed as "some very notable people of our country shedding light on the topic from their point of view," per the Independent (a pic of the original promo appears here). Those very notable people: five men, including a CEO, a film director, two media representatives, and a human rights lawyer. The forum's host, Uzma Al-Karim, is a woman, but her name was pushed to the bottom of the ad for the event and it wasn't mentioned she was the moderator.

The BBC rounds up reactions, including one critic who says, "The men I know who are feminists would be embarrassed to be on this panel." One (male) comedian jokes, "This Friday I'll be giving a workshop on how to menstruate at the Arts Council of Pakistan followed by a talk on breastfeeding children." Jibran Nasir, the human rights lawyer on the panel, was one of those who pushed back on the original title, noting on Twitter that he'd been under the impression the panel would be "men talking to other men about rethinking masculinity and why as men we need feminism." He adds: "It wasn't to explain feminism or talk about women issues as men." Two women—a journalist and a feminism activist—have since been added to the panel, which has also been renamed "Understanding Feminism," and Al-Karim's name has been moved up and labeled as "Moderator." (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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