Women's Action Forum (WAF)
- General Issues
- Human Rights & Civil Rights
Mission and Purpose
The organization's current goals include women’s representation in parliament, consciousness-raising in regards to family planning, and making public statements on women’s issues.
Origins and Development
Under General Zia UL Haq’s rule and Islamization of the nation state, a group of women met in Shirkat Gah Karachi in 1981 and formed the Women Action Forum (WAF) to challenge and protest the Hudood Ordinances of 1979. What inspired this group into creation was the Zina Ordinance’s application to the case of Fehmida and Allah Bux which conflated adultery with rape. Within months of its founding, chapters of WAF opened up in Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
Membership was once mostly women from elite, upper class families, it now includes women from different backgrounds, in different regions.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
WAF was the face of feminism in Pakistan in the 80s, with picketing, demonstrations, processions, rallies, signature campaigns, consciousness-raising, telegrams, and writing memorandums and letters as their forms of protest and contestation.
Major Projects and Events
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Analysis and Lessons Learned
As one of the first organizations to apologize to Bangladeshi women for the crimes against humanity from the 1971 war, to deliberatively deciding to advocate for a secular, democratic nation state, WAF is an intersectional, inclusive and feminist organization. WAF is known as one of the last remaining autonomous, political and women’s rights organizations in Pakistan that has not been hijacked by the neoliberal development agenda. Paid-rights activism, especially when it comes to women’s development, is becoming heavily critiqued in Pakistan.
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