Number of Downlaods: 25
Published Date: Jan 16, 1996
Women and Local Government (W-24)
Saba Gul Khattak, SDPI
Decentralization is connected with the empowerment of local government and democractic governance in the popular imagination. Although the virtues and shortcomings of decentralization have been debated extensively, this paper argues that most issues connected with decentralization both as an academic exercise and as a process are overwhelmingly concerned with non-gendered aspects of the phenomenon. It advocates the inclusion of women in local councils as a means of addressing women’s needs and concerns and provides specific recommendations in this regard. It concludes by emphasizing that the manner in which the processes of inclusion are implemented are important for any modifications in the institutional arrangements in place in Pakistan at present. The paper is accordingly divided into four parts: the first deals with the conceptualization of decentralization, the need for effective self-government; the second part reviews the histories of local government and discusses issues of identity and state formation and their subsequent impact upon local government and the continued absence of women; the third part touches upon a comparison with India, and a set of recommendations for Pakistan emphasizing the need to go beyond the traditional system of reserved seats; the fourth part concludes that decentralization and good governance hinge upon bringing women into the mainstream rather than keeping them on the periphery.