Women’s Day 2024: Winds of Change by Noor Shaukat
First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

By Martin Niemöller

This women’s day, these words by Martin Niemöller are haunting. With the global scale of injustice surpassing anything anyone could have ever imagined we cannot stay silent. Whether in Pakistan or abroad - we have witnessed live on our screens the sheer depravity of institutionalized oppression.

However, this women’s day I am also hopeful. As injustice, brutality and mob violence crosses all limits and comes out into the open, those raising their voices are gathering momentum. For the first time ever, the election in Pakistan was fought with an organized counter strategy and we saw a historic shift with female voter turnout. The global BDS movement against Israel is gaining traction as journalists have exposed for the world to see the sickening nature of Israeli war crimes. Western hypocrisy on women rights has been laid bare - the rights they espouse are not for all, just for the white women.

We are recognizing our new found collective power. We can now mobilize together, protest with our vote, cancel via social media and most importantly financially damage with our purchase power.

At the heart of AimFit, is a simple desire to empower women. These last few months have reinforced our desire to continue to empower the disadvantaged. And the first step to that is raise awareness. Pakistani women - whether in Pakistan or the diaspora have significantly worse health outcomes than other ethnicities. The reasons link to both nature and nurture - there are genetic predispositions but more importantly the lifestyle they follow.

There’s not a single woman over 30 who I have come across who has not struggled with one or more of the following: Excessive stress, depression, anxiety, excessive weight, PCOS, Diabetes, Fertility issues, Thyroid issues, general aches and pains, joint pain, poor sleep, excessive screen time and more. While losing weight remains the number 1 reason women start to workout, countering depression, getting stronger and fitter and generally feeling better is fast on the rise.

Our modern lifestyle is expediting a host of lifestyle linked diseases. Teenagers and pre-teens are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. And it’s not just because there’s more awareness. Being indoors all day, sitting for long periods of time, consuming processed food, watching screens well into the night - are all contributing to an epidemic we can feel but we can’t name. We don’t know who to blame or how to protect ourselves but we KNOW this is not how we are supposed to feel or live our lives.

Women face the brunt of these issues earlier on in life but this is a collective societal problem. It’s a problem that is fundamental to every fight we want to fight, every cause we want to stand up for. If we don’t work on changing our habits, we unknowingly pass these onto to the next generation. The first step to any change, local or global is to work on changing ourselves.

2024 will mark 10 years of AimFit. 10 years on, our community of women is savvier and rejecting false promises - whether from politicians or exploitative brands. The Global South is finding it’s voice and recognizing the power it wields. AimFit is committed to building this power from the ground up.

This women’s day we celebrate the winds of change.

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