The percentage of women in the National assembly of Pakistan is 20 percent. In provincial cabinets, the situation is even bleaker. Women’s participation in the politics of Pakistan is very low and their role is negligible. There are a lot of reasons behind the such disparity. Some of the main reasons are the structure of society, the composition of political parties, the legal framework, the preparedness of voters, and the role of the media. In Pakistan, women’s participation in politics is very low. Those who are in the polity are not free or powerful enough to move towards enhanced women’s participation and empowerment. This aids in the extreme gender inequality in the country and the low socio-economic development of women in society.
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Women’s Political Role in Pakistan
Before going towards the role of women in politics, let’s reflect on the condition of women in our society. As compared to 68% of men, only 22% of women are employed. The low number of girls enrolled in educational institutes is aided by employment disparity. Also, events of honor killing, rape, and workforce harassment make the life of women further bleaker in Pakistan. Underpayment or informal employment and lack of social security make women even more prone to the ills of society.
The increased political participation can reduce such jarring inequality. Participation of women in politics will empower women to raise their voices on political platforms. It will also enable women to form associations and independent political forums to fight for their rights. Hence, political participation can be the key to uplifting the social conditions of women in Pakistan. Political participation will enable women to break the chains of repressive societal norms. Participation of this sort can be only made possible by the efforts of women in the arena of politics.
Political Parties enhancing Women’s Participation
Political parties can play important to enhance the role of women in politics. Such parties need to offer opportunities for women to develop political careers. Women are not free in Pakistan to acquire key positions in political parties. This stunts the growth of women in political parties as well as in the arena of politics. Only blessed women such as Benazir Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz can mount the top positions in political parties. But they too are not free to take any political stances as their ideas of politics are entrenched in their families. Hence only strong and independent women can bring about change and make the prospects of women’s participation better in the political parties as well as in national politics. Political parties need to give more space to women in making political decisions. It is very essential for the enhancement of women’s participation in the politics of Pakistan.
Votes: The Catalyst for Women’s Role in Politics
Prepared voters can be a catalyst for the increased role of women in politics. In Pakistan, women are marginalized at each level. Women, in families, are allowed only to take specific roles. Women are not allowed to take key positions or decision-making positions in politics as well as in workspaces. This is mainly due to the mindset of society affected by religious extremism promoted by colonial powers and then by repressive regimes. Hence, it is very important to increase the role of women in society to increase its role in polity. Successful formation of a narrative will get women more votes and thus will improve the prospects of women gaining key political positions.
Also, the legal framework for the increasing role of women’s participation in the politics of Pakistan is the need of the hour. Women need to be protected in the workspaces. Strong laws and their implementation are needed to halt the harassment of women in workspaces. The legal framework to protect the rights of women will enhance women’s participation in politics. It will also increase the participation of women in society.
Media’s role in Women’s Participation
Similarly, media play will play a vital role in the enhanced participation of women in politics. It is needed to spread awareness regarding women’s rights. It will also help women to run campaigns and awareness. Media can play a very key role to change the general mindset of women’s participation in the politics of Pakistan. It will give women a platform to defend and promulgate their case for gender equality. It will also improve the living conditions of women in rural areas.
Concluding, women’s participation in politics can lead to increased gender equality. Women’s participation is needed to be encouraged at both rural and urban levels. In this wake, political parties can play a key role in appointing women to key positions in political parties as well as in governments. Sania Nishtar, the former health adviser of Pakistan, is the embodiment of women’s participation in politics. The role of media is also very important to increase women’s participation in politics. Voters need to be prepared to vote for women contestants. It will aid in empowering women and will nurture confidence in women candidates. Hence, the political participation of women can aid in gender equality at rural as well as urban levels.