The theme of this year’s Aurat March Lahore is Feminism in Time of Crisis. The organizers encouraged posters and signs to express concerns regarding the same. The team also issued a statement before the march about its zero-tolerance policy toward racial profiling. “We do not accept any message that incites or spreads violence and hate speech,” they declared.
In the same vein, filmmaker Iffat Omar took to the streets of Lahore on Wednesday to march for equal pay and equal rights for women. His sign reads: “Kaam pura tou ujrat aadhi kiun?” which roughly translates to, “Why pay half for a job well done?”
A picture of Omar holding the paper was also shared Alabi News’s Instagram. Although the main character’s request was not discriminatory or inciting hate speech, it was met with disapproval by many social media users, many of whom slammed Omar without a trigger. Among the hurtful comments, one woman wrote, “Because you don’t know how to do it.”
In response, Omar snapped, “If I don’t know how to do it, then why do it [they] fire me for the job? I refuse to work! Seriously, go to hell if you’re making fun of the wage gap in Pakistan. Then he revealed, “I don’t know how to do it but even Mahira doesn’t get paid as much as Fawad. Women like you, who don’t support other women who need their human rights, is the biggest shame.”
In another comment, the same person wrote, “Talk about the pay gap but pick an area where it actually happens.”
Moved by the sign, many continued to pass hateful comments towards Omar. One user posted, “Because of your looks, others are paying their full price.” Another wrote, “Tell this to the people who paid you half.”
Omar did not respond to the personal attacks.