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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Dec 10, 2015

Gender balance: Role of women in decision-making urged

Rights activists and parliamentarians have stressed greater role of women in politics and in the policy-making process.
They also said that inclusion of women in politics and decision making process was not only important for protection of their rights but also key to addressing questions pertaining to gender-based issues and quality of democracy.
They were sharing these views at a concurrent session on South Asian women parliamentarians for the rights of women.
The speakers believe that despite international declarations and ongoing commitments women have less rights and opportunities as compared to men and are underrepresented in the political sphere worldwide. In South Asian countries, in particular, societies are dominated by patriarchal structures that hamper women’s participation in political processes.
The panel tried to examine the challenges confronted by women in politics and assisting women parliamentarians in formulating informed policies.
As many as seventeen women parliamentarians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan engaged in a close group discussion to share the challenges in addressing women’s interests and present a roadmap to include women in the political process.
An ongoing research study policy, ‘Unmaking political patriarchy and through gender Quotas?’ was also released at the event.
Andrea Fleschenberg, guest professor at Quaid-e-Azam University, shared some of the findings in her research, which is being coauthored with Dr Farzana Bari, Director Centre of excellence for Gender Studies at QAU.
According to Fleschenberg, the research project focuses on the impacts that gender quotas have had in South Asia, and particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We are looking into gender quotas, related challenges and achievements of women parliamentarians in securing their seat in the houses of parliament.”
Explaining the theme and major questions of research, Fleschenberg said that the research also looks into how political patriarchy works in both countries.
She said that in some countries, quotas have been accepted as a tool for ensuring women representation, but they remain a contested issue due to their design and impact.
She said the complete research paper will be published by the end of this month.