Dozens of women in Pakistan took part in female-only bike races in major cities on April 2. The event is to challenge male dominance of public spaces in the country.
The bike race was one of many events organized in the last few years by Girls at Dhabas — the name given to roadside restaurants in Pakistan — to promote female participation in public events, fight restrictions faced by women in public places and increase awareness.
Over 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nearly 200-million population are under the age of 30 but young women in the Muslim country continue to face barriers to employment and are often made to feel uncomfortable going to male-dominated public areas, said the event organizer Meher Bano.
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Members of Girls at Dhabas say they are a new generation of Pakistani feminists determined to build on progress made by their predecessors.
Though there is a small but vocal liberal movement in Pakistan, most noticeable in sections of the media, women who push feminist ideals often face a barrage of abuse and are portrayed as being infected with Western or un-Islamic ideals.