ISLAMABAD: The Collective for Social Science and Research (CSSR) and the Institute for Development and Economic Alternatives (Ideas) on Wednesday held a discussion on ways to increase the participation and representation of women in politics.

Politicians, government officials and members of the civil society participated in the event which was divided in three sections including presentations, group discussions and panel discussions.

In his presentation, Ali Cheema from Ideas said the gender gap in political participation remains a tenacious global challenge which is particularly acute in Pakistan. He said the country was ranked 143rd out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index.

Speaking at a panel discussion, MNA Nafisa Shah said women politicians should be given tickets for general seats in order to make their presence in parliament effective. She criticised the present government for not treating women parliamentarians on reserved seats the same as other members.

“The present government parliamentary caucus could not maintain the high standard we set and has lost its effectiveness. This government uses women parliamentarians on reserved seats for filling seats in order to meet the quorum. The ruling party does not even understand what these women parliamentarians represent,” she said.

Senior vice president of the Awami National Party Bushra Gohar also criticised the role of the women parliamentary caucus which she said has a “limited role in this government and has also become very weak”.

She stressed on the need for working harder within political parties in order to ensure an effective role for women parliamentarians.

During the second session of the event, the audience was divided in four groups for a discussion on the inclusion of women as political actors and the role of civil society, the government and political parties.

Speakers agreed that women voter turnout is low due to the challenges they face when casting their vote freely.

Participants brought up some of the obstacles women face in polling stations including transportation issues, waiting in long queues, lack of political awareness, limited number of polling stations, document problems and others.

A number of solutions were also suggested such as separate sections for women in polling stations, raising political awareness, ensuring a conducive environment at polling stations, better transportation facilities and door-to-door campaigns involving women voters.

Some of the participants stressed that political parties should tailor their manifestoes with special programs for women and nominate women candidates which will encourage women to come out of their homes and exercise their right to vote.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2017

Opinion

Big win, bigger challenges
19 Sep 2021

Big win, bigger challenges

Pakistan should be smug. It is not. There are a number of likely scenarios that must be the source of its unease.
Power of stays
19 Sep 2021

Power of stays

Great power means no one dare ask you questions.
Local decay
18 Sep 2021

Local decay

The set-up in Sindh exercises total control over LG functions.

Editorial

Talking to the Taliban
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Talking to the Taliban

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has started a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of a...
19 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s departure

THERE was chaos and despair when New Zealand decided to call off their tour of Pakistan barely minutes before the...
19 Sep 2021

Crucial polio campaign

THE national vaccination campaign that kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday is being described by experts as...
Blinken’s remarks
Updated 18 Sep 2021

Blinken’s remarks

The US establishment cannot scapegoat Pakistan for two decades of bad policy in Afghanistan.
18 Sep 2021

Worrying survey

THE findings of the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 indicate that some important headline trends have already taken or...
18 Sep 2021

Special needs

THE fact that only 3,653 children with special needs, out of some 300,000 in Sindh, are registered with the...