International Women’s Day at IDS: Defending gender justice

Published on 23 February 2024

In recent years, there has been a global shift in the fight for women’s rights and gender justice – from the overturning of Roe v Wade, the introduction of the Anti-homosexuality Act 2023 in Uganda, the revocation of transgender rights to self-identification in Pakistan, stricter hijab laws in Iran and the ongoing attempts to ban Muslim women’s attire in France.

A film still from This Stained Dawn depicting a group of women wearing black and red in formation pointing offscreen. Behind the, a mostly female audience sits on the grass and watches the performance
Still from This Stained Dawn. Credit: Anam Abbas

Reflecting the initiatives at IDS committed to producing research, practice and learning on the backlash against gender justice, to mark this International Women’s Day we have two events with guest speakers at the forefront of defending gender rights through activism, filmmaking and research.

The events are organised in partnership with the gender justice research partnerships hosted by IDS: ‘Sustaining Power: Women’s Struggles against contemporary backlash in South Asia’ (SuPWR) and Countering Backlash.

This Stained Dawn: feminist documentary and director Q&A

On 5 March, the critically acclaimed filmmaker Anam Abbas will be screening her documentary ‘This Stained Dawn’. The film follows Karachi’s feminists as they organise a woman’s march (Aurat March), coming up against Pakistan’s radical religious right while negotiating a deeply surveilled and violent space in the hopes of a revolution.

A film still from This Stained Dawn depicting four women inblack and red looking down at a crowd from a pick up truck. One of them holds a mic, and is speaking with her finger pointing at the sky. Another woman holds up a sign. An older woman has her head bandaged with a red scarf
Still from This Stained Dawn. Credit: Tazeen Bari

‘This Stained Dawn’ is not just about the march, but about the act of political organising itself. The screening will be followed by a Q&A and discussion chaired by IDS Research Fellow, Professor Deepta Chopra.

Register to attend online or in person

Understanding gender backlash: Southern perspectives

On 7 March, is the launch of the new IDS Bulletin ‘Understanding Gender Backlash: Southern Perspectives’. The bulletin issue addresses urgent questions of how we can better understand the recent swell of anti-gender backlash across different regions. It explores different types of actors, interests, narratives, and tactics for backlash in different places, policy areas, and processes.

An illustration of people carrying banners with the words 'Reclaim Gender Justice' on them.
Image: Mrinalini Godara

The bulletin is produced by the Countering Backlash programme. It includes contributions, insights, and expert knowledge from programme partners in diverse locations across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Brazil, Lebanon and the UK. During the panel discussion, speakers will reflect on their articles and share key findings from their research, followed by an audience Q&A.

Register to attend online or in person

Key contacts

Mahnoor Mahar

Communications Support Officer - External Affairs

+44 (0)1273 915703


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