Each paper should be done on a different region—one paper on Latin America, one on Sub-Saharan Africa, and one on South Asia. You may write about the region or choose one or two countries within it. Your subject matter should be something we are looking at in the class—the effects of colonization, problems of debt, health issues, developmental successes, political power struggles, etc. Obviously, these are all big subjects so it will be best if you narrow down your paper’s topic—please come talk to me or email me if you need more help with this, or with finding resources.
So, you might choose to write on Nigeria’s ongoing, seemingly never-ending efforts at democratization. Questions you could ask are: what are the reasons behind the inability of Nigerian democracy to consolidate? To give at least some insight into this you might choose to focus on the problem of the exploitation of the Niger River Delta and the resistance efforts various groups have mounted there. How has the state handled the situation? What ramifications does the issue have for democracy in Nigeria? And so on.
The paper aims to analyse the role of women in Pakistan’s democracy. Women in Pakistan are playing an important role in the electoral process, managing campaigns and running for the elected posts. In the general elections of 2013, 147 women contested for the National assembly in Pakistan and 300 women has sought for the provincial assembly seats in Pakistan. The number of female candidates in the general election has increased from 57 in 2002 to 73 in 2008. It has been found that many women in Pakistan are also engaged in the central and the provincial government. Women in Pakistan are excluded from the arena of politics and this is a global and historic phenomena. The gender imbalance in Pakistan still exists despite many international conventions and commitments to gender equality programmes. This is a continuous challenge for the different international community in Pakistan. According to the Gender Gap Index, Pakistan ranks 143 out of 144 countries in the world. It has been found that women’s representation in the national legislature is increasing gradually with the passage of time. Women’s exclusion in the political process in Pakistan is due to the interplay of institutional, structural and functional obstacle. (Konte & Klasen, 2016).
To critically evaluate the role of women in Pakistan’s democracy.
Democracy across the world is struggling to ensure equal participation to women. Although the success rate is not uniform, however women in Pakistan are playing an active role in the political participation. In 1973, only 10 seats were reserved for the women in National Assembly. The political parties are hindering the participation of women in politics. It has been found that the male counterpart dominates these political parties and thus tries to gain leadership. This has discouraged women’s participation in the democratic practices that are within the political parties. Lower social, political and economic investment in women’s human capital has helped in defining women’s perception of politics. It has been found that women lack economic resources, education, confidence and knowledge to enter into politics. The psychological and personal factors helps to determine women’s capacity to participate in different government structures (Shah, Aziz & Ahmad, 2015). The most important challenge which women voters are under-registration of the voters face. It has been found that only a few proportion of women are registered as voters in the country. Moreover, women in tribal and remote areas cannot travel to far off places to cast votes and they depend on the male counterpart. The domination of male counterparts in the polling station impacts the women voters in a negative way (Alston, 2014)
In the election of 2017, there were two women who contested for the National Assembly in Lahore. The wife of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif has won the election by defeating her rival, Yasmin Rashid. It has also been found that a large number of women participated in the political election of Peshawar in October, 2017. Although the participation was considered fair, however it has been found that women candidates did not possess national identity cards that was considered a pre-requisite for participating in the election process. Moreover, women in Pakistan also require more educational qualification to understand the importance of voting process. It was also found that many women candidates contested by wearing the traditional burqas to attract more female voters (Jabeen, 2018).
In the recent years, it has been found that women are playing a positive role for the community and the household section. This can be regarded as an opportunity for the women candidates to participate in the election process. It can be said that this was possible due to cascade training which was one of the most important phase of US $22.5 million project which has started in 2016. This program focuses to support the ECP so as to prepare the women candidates and encourage them to participate in the election process. This programme also provides training session to the women candidates and the female polling officials who will be engaged in the women polling station. This will ensure greater participation of women in the election process. On the other hand, the female polling staff must also be awarded voter education campaign for proper inspection of the national and provincial elections (UNDP, 2017).
In 2017, Maryam Nawaz addressed conference on the occasion of International women’s day in Pakistan for the betterment and development of women in Pakistan’s society. She has addressed that women in Pakistan is full of extraordinary talents and they are doing a great job in the field of education and politics. Although there exists a huge gender gap between the male and the female counterparts in Pakistan, however women are given only a few rights to enjoy and they are also discriminated in the entire process. In this conference, there were different lawmakers from Iran, Turkey, Maldives, Pakistan and Jordan who gave different ideas on women participation in the election process (Women in democracy, 2017).
It is important to boost the women candidates to participate in the election process. There must be an allotment of 5% tickets for the women to participate in the election process in Pakistan. The civil societies and the government department must carry out different awareness programmes before the election polls in the remote areas of Pakistan. This will also make the women candidates aware and they can improve their role as a voter as well as a candidate in the election process. There must also be separate polling stations for the women in the remote areas of Pakistan. In many conservative towns of Pakistan, separate polling stations will increase the participation of women in the election process. It is the duty of the election commission to keep an eye on the local elements so that they cannot restrict the women to participate in the voting process in remote areas (Pakistan News, 2017).
Women are individually and collectively prevented from exercising their votes. The candidates who contest in these political elections support the restrictions and they sign agreements that they will not allow women to participate or cast votes. It is difficult to assess the membership of women in these political parties. Women can fairly participate in gaining key positions within the different party structures. The women candidate of Pakistan does not get adequate support to participate in the election process. Moreover, there are certain financial constraints that hinders women to participate in the electoral process. However, Pakistan culture also has a tradition of strong women who participate in the major social institutes. The example of Benazir Bhutto can be cited in this case. She was considered as one of the greatest leader whose dedication can be compared with the leader of great political dedication (Globalist, 2017).
Thus, it can be said that women must have the ability to participate in the election process. It is necessary to get the support from the male counterparts to participate in the election process. There must also be an implementation of certain laws in Pakistan for the provision of equal opportunity to participate in the election process. This will increase the cultural admissibility of women for participating in the electoral process by changing their mindset and it will also discourage the male counterparts in dominating the female. Women in Pakistan must also gather enhanced knowledge of the functioning and procedure of the government departments. They must possess enhanced skill in legislation and law making process. Moreover, women must also build trustworthy relation among the government officials and the women politicians who are engaged earlier in the electoral process. There must also be regular institutional engagement government officials with the women counterparts and this will help them to become an active member of the political committee.
Pakistan News. (2017). Pakistan.asia-news.com. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from https://pakistan.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_pf/features/2017/11/07/feature-02
Alston, M. (Ed.). (2014). Women, political struggles and gender equality in South Asia. Springer.
Jabeen, N. (2018). Gender and local governance in Pakistan. In Women in Governing Institutions in South Asia (pp. 285-304). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Konte, M., & Klasen, S. (2016). Gender difference in support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do social institutions matter?. Feminist Economics, 22(2), 55-86.
Shah, I. A., Aziz, A., & Ahmad, M. S. (2015). Women councilors for women's empowerment in Pakistan. Journal of International Women's Studies, 16(3), 203.
UNDP. (2017). undp.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from https://www.undp.org/content/brussels/en/home/ourwork/democratic-governance-and-peacebuilding/successstories/in-pakistan--women-work-to-strengthen-democracy.html
Women in democracy:. (2017). The Express Tribune. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1354158/women-democracy-three-day-international-conference-kicks-off-pakistan/
Globalist. (2017). theglobalist.com. Retrieved 6 December 2017, from https://www.theglobalist.com/pakistani-women-and-democracy-part-i/
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