Video: Two Steps Forward
The documentary film "Two Steps Forward" has been produced by our Pakistani partner organization Shirkat Gah - Women's Resource Centre under their current research project: "Women's Empowerment in Muslim Context: gender, poverty and democratization from inside out". The film looks at the Pakistani peasant movement that started in 2000 in ten districts of the province of Punjab, and sheds light particularly on the prominent role of women in the protests.
Around one million peasants rose up in response to the forced imposition of a contract system with regard to military farms. This had the effect of denying the peasants their inheritance rights acquired by virtue of having tilled the lands for decade. The peasants of Punjab raised their voice against this injustice with the women courageously stepping forward in response to the military’s use of various tactics and violence to suppress the male peasants.
Women have always played a vibrant role in social movements in Pakistan being mobilized on various occasions. But the strength of the peasant movement is particularly credited to the women standing up of their very own will. That made a striking difference since they have been not only acknowledged as an integral part, but took over the leadership. The women really acted as the frontline fighters of the movement from 2001 to 2004 and their determination eventually left the military with no choice but to step back.
To get more information and watch the full documentary on the role of women in the peasant movement, you can also visit Shirkat Gah’s media gallery: http://www.shirkatgah.org/video-gallery.html. The women have been successful in getting back the land from the government so far, but to get credited the land rights also from their own families is yet to be materialized – so struggle goes on.
Language: Punjabi / Urdu
Duration: 11 Minutes 28 Seconds
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