Our third and last panel will delve into the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and female empowerment not only in Pakistan but across South Asia. In the past year, several historic steps have been taken in Pakistan to safeguard women’s rights including the passing of the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill and the approval of the legislation outlawing ‘honor killings’. However, there is still much to be done to further the cause of women in Pakistan and the greater South Asia. Thus, Soch presents its panel under the theme Reclaiming Public Spaces: Exploring South Asian Feminism, in order to explore the steps that women in South Asia and in the diaspora are taking in order to empower and embolden women in public spheres. Comprised of women’s rights activist, Shruti Kapoor, CEO of the Malala Fund, Shiza Shahid, and Executive Director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE), the panel will engage in an enlightening discussion on the narrative of South Asian women.
Babbuthepainter’s artwork is a journey of self-discovery and introspection. A child from an immigrant home, Babbu uses art to sift through the feeling of belonging and at times being distant within two very different worlds. She uses a self-exploratory narrative to explore the issues of gender politics within South Asian society. Whether using photography, often using herself as the subject, or combining the rich traditional Indian art of miniature paintings with pop art, Babbuthepainter’s work is an attempt to critique the predominant norms within South Asian communities.
Economist, Activist, Entrepreneur
Shruti Kapoor (born 25 September) is an Indian economist, women's rights activist, and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of Sayfty, an initiative that aims to educate, equip and empower women and girls against all forms of violence. Kapoor founded Sayfty in June 2013 as an initiative to educate, equip and empower women and girls against all forms of violence.The initiative aims at training young women and girls in self-defence, the use of safety tools including pepper-spray,awareness of laws and legal rights, and creating dialogue around safety and what makes women feel unsafe. Sayfty was awarded the People's Choice Award by Femvertising in 2015. As an activist, Kapoor has addressed many public forums including the Youth Assembly at the United Nations in August 2016.
Sana the Director of Bolo Bhi, a non-profit geared towards gender rights, government transparency, internet access, digital security and privacy. Bolo Bhi was instrumental in getting YouTube restored in Pakistan and lobbied extensively against the passing of the Cyber Crimes Bill 2015.
Sana is an activist working on minority rights and internet freedom. Sana was listed in Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinker's list in 2012, for her work on free speech in Pakistan with Bolo Bhi. She serves on the advisory board of Courage Foundation, which is Edward Snowden's Legal Defense Fund. She blogs at Global Voices, Asian Correspondent, The Guardian, Dawn and her personal blog Mystified Justice. She also won Best Activist Blogger award by CIO & Google at the Pakistan Blogger Awards in the same year. In 2014, she was listed on BBC's 100 Women list.