June 6, 2023
The final roundtable, in the conference ‘Reclaiming The Space: Reading the Constitution from Women’s Perspective’ began with a session on “Women’s Representation, Political and Electoral Participation” chaired by Ms. Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan.
Distinguished speakers, including Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Mr. Saroop Ijaz, Ms. Bushra Gohar, and Ms. Fauzia Viqar engaged in insightful discussions on obstacles to women’s political participation and proposed amendments to ensure meaningful representation in political parties and key positions. The session also addressed the progress made in increasing women’s presence in elected and appointed positions, campaign financing, and the utilization of technology in elections.
Khawar Mumtaz noted that all Constitutional provisions for key positions in governance should be explicitly opened to women. She also recommended
‘establishing 33% of seats for women until they are mainstreamed in political participation to incentivise political parties to bring forth their female candidates.’
Saroop Ijaz noted that women’s representation and the Constitution should be inclusive in form and outcomes and provide a guarantee of equality of opportunities.
Bushra Gohar highlighted how women are always an afterthought in decision-making and how the biases of patriarchy along with Talibanism and tribalism continue to hinder female political participation in Pakistan.
Fauzia Viqar emphasized the need for a gender equality policy in the National Assembly to remove the systemic and inherent discriminatory barriers faced by women and called for strengthening enforcement mechanisms and monitoring the performance of legislatures.
Throughout the seminar, participants actively engaged in fruitful discussions exchanged ideas, and generated valuable recommendations for constitutional reforms that promote gender equality and inclusivity. The networking tea breaks provided further opportunities for interaction between the esteemed speakers and participants in attendance.