More and more these days, I’ve been hearing both women and men say that feminism is not a women-only movement. It’s been interesting to see how men have added their voices and influence to the movement, and how women have engaged them and leveraged their involvement to fuel progress.
One such woman is filmmaker Samar Minallah Khan who has focused her work on bringing an old Pakistani practice to the spotlight — swara, where a daughter is given away as payment for a crime. After several years of studying the practice and its victims, Khan, who is an anthropologist and documentarian, produced a documentary in 2003 called Swara—A Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Her work initially addressed all sides of the practice, incorporating all voices just to give the full picture to educate viewers. However, what struck her most were the men who had the courage to refuse to give their daughters away. She told NPR:
“Men, too, face hurdles for speaking up and for challenging norms,” she says. “Standing up in the face of society and country expectations, that takes a lot of courage.”
And their bravery paid off. In 2004, Pakistan outlawed swara, making it illegal to give away daughters to compensate for crimes.
Thank you for your activism, Samar. I look forward to following your work that challenges norms and gives voice to untold stories!