Women Participation

In Pakistan, 60 of the total 342 seats in the National Assembly (17%) are reserved for women. The 272 general seats are elected by a direct vote through a first-past-the-post system in single-member constituencies across four main provinces, Federally-administered Tribal Areas and the Islamabad capital territory. An additional 10 seats are reserved for non-Muslims.

The reserved seats for women are allocated to 4 provinces in the following manner: Punjab (35 seats); Sindh (14 seats); Khyber Pakhtun khwa (8 seats); and Balochistan (3 seats). Women members in these seats are elected through an indirect proportional representation list system, whereby political parties submit their lists of women candidates for reserved seats to the Election Commission prior to the election. Following the finalization of election results for general seats, the reserved seats are allocated to the political parties in proportion to the number of general seats obtained by these parties in each province. (Constitution, Article 51).

The participation of women in politics may seem to be increasing in general but the presence of women in the political parties as well as in the political structure at the local, provincial, and national levels remains insignificant due to cultural and structural barriers.

Reserved seats for women in the National and provincial Assemblies have facilitated women’s participation in politics and encouraged more women to contest on general seats. Some 150 women filed papers on general seats of the National Assembly in the 2013 election, mostly as independent candidates. Political parties awarded very few tickets to women on general seats, reflecting patriarchal trends where women are kept out of the public space.

Although the constitution of Pakistan guarantees dignity, freedom and equality to all citizens and forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, women remain marginalized in various aspects of public participation, including political participation both in terms of holding office and voting, most parties do not take the views of women specifically into account while drawing up election manifestos,. Women who are consulted are those with an already strong status in the parties, often on the basis of their family background. Women are acceptable only as proxies or an extension of male politicians. In many parts of the country, female voters still encountered being barred from casting their votes, even until the most recent elections.

In 2013 Elections, with an overall national voter turnout of 55 per cent, the results were a marked improvement over the country’s historically low turnout. The voter turnout for women was an unprecedented 40 per cent of all votes. The female turnout is considered remarkable, although there are no comparative figures for previous elections.

This election also saw other firsts. The number of women voters at every level was counted for the first time, due to efforts by the Election Commission of Pakistan with the support of UN Women. As part of a broader series of efforts in Pakistan to increase female voter registration and encourage women to cast their ballot, the Commission worked to collect gender-disaggregated data for votes cast.

Both the Pakistan Penal Code and the Representation of People Act have stated penalties, for those who threaten or prevent voters from exercising their electoral rights. The Code of Conduct for General Elections 1997 forbids political parties, contesting candidates and their workers to propagate against women’s participation.



Resources :

PDF : Women Electoral Quotas: Global Trend and Comparison with Pakistan (PakVoter.org)
PDF : Women’s Participation in the Upcoming 2013 Elections (DRI: 2013)
LINK : Casting her Vote: Women Increase Participation in Pakistan’s Elections (Urgent Action Fund: 2013)
LINK : Using a Gender Lens to Examine Pakistan’s Historic Election- IFES (2013)
LINK : Pakistan elections: Supporting women to cast their vote (Gov.UK: 2013)
LINK : Using a Gender Lens to Examine Pakistan’s Historic Election- IFES (2013)
LINK : Pakistan elections: Supporting women to cast their vote (Gov.UK: 2013)
LINK : Awareness stressed for women’s participation in electoral process (The News: 2013)
LINK : Sharp Increase of Women Voters in Pakistan’s 2013 Elections (UN Women: 2013)
LINK : Pakistan’s women face battle for the right to vote- (The Guardian: 2013)
LINK : ECP’s new move for greater women participation in elections (Dawn: 2013)
LINK : Pakistan Elections 2013: Women and the Youth (IPCS: 2013)
LINK : Strengthening democracy through increasing political participation of Women- Aware Girls (2013)
This article addresses challenges to political participation of women and strategies to increase participation of young women.
PDF : Baseline Survey: Attitudes towards Women’s Political Participation (Aware Girls: 2014)
LINK : Pakistani women defy clerics and custom in elections (The Guardian: 2013)
LINK : From Pakistan’s tribal region to Parliament: A woman’s dream (CNN: 2013)
PDF : Expert Analysis: The evolving role of women in Pakistani politics (NOREF: 2013)
PDF : Together We Will: Experimental Evidence on Female Voting Behavior in Pakistan (Xavier Giné and Ghazala Mansuri)
PDF : Gender Review of Political Framework for Women Political Participation- NCSW
This review was done with the purpose to assess the discourse on women’s political empowerment and their level of participation in mainstream politics by analyzing the gender gaps in the Election Laws-General Elections 2007-08 and projects for women political empowerment run by the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) and Gender Reforms Action Program (GRAP)
LINK : More women voters turn out for Pakistani province elections (UPI: 2015)
PDF : Gender Election Monitoring Mission Pakistan, General National Assembly Election 2013 (Gender Concerns International: 2013)

Google Analytics : LINK