PESHAWAR -UNS- Research on challenges faced by women parliamentarians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa launched in Provincial Assembly in an event organized by Blue Veins on Monday. Under a project “Policy advocacy and research to strengthen implementation of pro-women legislation and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response services in KP” with assistance from Australian Government and Trócaire. The aim of the program was to share the findings of the research focusing on identification of challenges and hindrances faced by women parliamentarians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Qamar Naseem, Program Coordinator Blue Veins, shared with the participants that “the basic aim behind conducting research was to evaluate the challenges and obstructions faced by the women parliamentarians as lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The research findings not only contributed in identification of the challenges but the analysis also helped in assessment of their impacts on legislation. By the research findings, Blue Veins hopes that it will be very useful for the parliamentarians to initiate dialogues among them and take positive steps in and outside of the assembly on the challenges faced by women parliamentarians to ensure their constructive participation in political process”.
Rukhshanda Naz, renowned women rights activist said on the occasion that “the importance of women participation in politics for practicable and successful democratic system has been realized by all over the world. The research findings truly reflect that although Pakistan to guarantee good governance and healthy democracy has made various efforts to ensure active participation of females in political system like increasing 17% reserved quota for females in National and Provincial assemblies of Pakistan but still gaps and challenges exist that are threatening the existence and role of women parliamentarians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The challenges and issues identified under the research have helped to explore the underlying restrictions which prevent women to play their role as active representatives of the society. Perceptions of male and female parliamentarians and the research findings lead to the dire need of introduction of new laws for social, political and financial support to women parliamentarians”.
Mairaj Hamayun Khan, member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and chairperson of Women Parliamentary Caucus while mentioning about the role of Women Parliamentary Caucus said that “In KP the reserved quota seats has encouraged females to actively participate in politics and play their positive role in legislation but their representation and participation continues to be inadequate. In this regard Women Parliamentary Caucus is also playing its role in strengthening voices of women legislators in the Assembly and providing them a platform to struggle collectively for their own rights. But still less interest of some of the members of Caucus and many other factors restraints it in performing its effective role and mostly reason behind their less active participation is their unwillingness to go across their party lines. We can achieve successful results and play our role to influence legislation positively if each of the members works in collaboration and puts her share in Caucus activities beyond their party lines.”
Amina Sardar, member of Provincial Assembly also mentioned while sharing her concern that “women constitutes half of the population of Pakistan. Their participation and contribution in social, economic and political spheres is also very imperative. For sustainable development and successful democratic system, securing their participation and access to political life is very much required. Despite increasing the number of women parliamentarians, their real participation in legislation is still a big challenge. Various factors, which restrict women parliamentarians to freely participate in decision making positions and politics, are highlighted by the current research and it will help not only Government but also the political parties to look into these issues and take serious initiatives to facilitate and improve our positive participation”.
Mehmood Jan, member of Provincial Assembly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while expressing his views on the finding of research said” the findings of the research can be very useful to enhance women political participation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Male parliamentarians’ perspectives mentioned in research reflect that patriarchal and tribal mindset exists also in our political system which restricts and influence women’s political participation. Patriarchal norms, conservative attitudes, negative remarks, lack of cooperation, discriminatory gender ideology and many other like reasons has resulted in systematic gender-based discrimination for women political workers. There is a dire need to aware people at grass root level to promote women participation in political process. Families, Societies, Political parties and Government as a whole should support the inclusion and participation of women in the active politics so that the legislative bodies should reflect on the needs and aspiration of all genders.