Inclusive politics remains an elusive goal in Pakistan, which has a history of military interference in governance institutions, unstable elected governments and internecine conflict. Women’s voices, within the corridors of power or as constituents whose interests must be accounted for, have been weak but are growing stronger. Activism, led by the women’s movement and civil society advocacy groups since the 1980s, has yielded results. The state has opened up democratic spaces to women in elected legislatures and local bodies through an expanded reserved seats quota; and recently legislators revised electoral rules to mandate a minimal level of women’s greater inclusion as candidates and voters.
About this research
Drawing on qualitative research including key informant interviews and a survey conducted with conducted with women elected for the 2013–18 period to the Pakistan Senate, National Assembly, and four provincial assemblies, this research seeks to examine:
- The history of the women’s rights movement’s successful campaign for the restoration of reserved seats for women in elected bodies and legislatures
- The obstacles [political, social and institutional] faced by women who seek to exercise their right to vote, and collective action to overcome them
- The formation and effectiveness of the women’s caucus at the provincial and national legislatures to enhance women’s political participation and further women’s rights
- Women’s collective action for reform in election laws to require political parties to increase allocation of tickets on general seats to women and increase women’s voice and decision-making power within parties
See also A4EA phase 2 research on Gendered Contentions