Our Ideology and Politics

We consider patriarchal oppression, discrimination and violence as part of the overall exploitation and oppression of the masses in Pakistan on the basis of gender, class and nation – pillars of capitalism, feudalism, imperialism and religious extremism. We see them as intertwined and interlocking forms of oppression. We are firmly committed to continue struggle till the emancipation of women from all forms of patriarchal oppression and these socio-economic bases; for women’s right to life, peace and progress, equality for all, establishing people’s democracy and egalitarian society in Pakistan, based on socialist-feminist ideals and principles. Our detailed stance and programme are provided in our manifesto and constitution.

Our ideology is informed by socialist-feminism; our politics is informed by objective conditions in Pakistan and around the world, and our history of political struggles by women, the masses, and oppressed nations against various forms of oppression and exploitation; and our organization is based on socialist-feminist emancipatory principles – egalitarian organizational culture and patriarchy-free feminist space, comradery, support to members for healing from oppression.

Type of Organization

We are a mass resistance movement, with a cadre. WDF’s membership is on voluntary basis and all members commit to working towards the women’s autonomous organizing. We are neither a philanthropic/welfare organization, nor a non-governmental organization (NGO). We do not accept any form of support and financing from any government, semi-government or non-government agencies in Pakistan or in foreign countries. We run our organization with membership fee and contributions collected from progressive individual sympathizers through finance appeals, approved by WDF.

Organizing Strategy

We are a leftist political organization aiming to build an organic socialist-feminist mass resistance movement through organizing working class women living in urban and rural areas, and also through bringing together struggles of women. Our organizing principles are: autonomous organizing; equal presentation; peaceful and democratic means of resistance; socialist-feminist organizational culture; federal structure with 6 national units (Balochistan, Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Seraiki, Punjab, and Islamabad Capital Territory); elections of all bodies after every three years, and yearly renewal of membership; and solidarity with the progressive political forces, and mass resistance movements along progressive lines. We acknowledge Kashmir and GB as autonomous national and historical unities, and a socialist-feminist formation from Kashmir and GB can associate with us as an autonomous “sister organization”.

We are currently in the process of building WDF in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Our Organ

We have a quarterly magazine Nariwad , our organ, that includes ideological and political subjects, and news of our activities. Some editions of the magazine are available on the website.

Our presence

We are a federal organization, having country-wide presence through 4 national units in Sindh, Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, Punjab/Islamabad; and a federal unit. We can also have units in the disputed territories of Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan, if the women of these areas want to organise.

Current officeholders

See our current officeholders here.

Ismat Raza Shahjahan, Federal President

Alya Bakhshal, Federal General Secretary

Tooba Syed, Federal Information and Publishing Secretary

Zoya Rehman, Federal Education Secretary

Organizational structure

We have two intertwined elected structures:

  1. Political structure for ideological and political decision making called ‘Congress’,
  2. Organizational structure comprising ‘Council’ with a secretariat called ‘Cabinet’ to implement decisions and run day-to-day affairs of WDF.

These structures exist at three levels, federal, national/provincial and district.