Pak making slow, but steady progress in allotting political roles to women: Study

Islamabad, Dec. 25 (ANI): Pakistan has made remarkable progress in giving decision-making roles to women, according to a study by the Planning Commission.

The progress, however, according to the study, remains slow.

Former premier Benazir Bhutto, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza are part of a small, but significant, number of women who have marked their place in the country’s political arena.

The 2010 MDG Report for Pakistan also noted that “the 22.2% participation share of women in the National Assembly is much better than that for any other Asian democracy and even for several Western democracies, including the UK and the USA, as Pakistan has had a female prime minister, Parliament speaker, and most recently, a female foreign minister”, reports The Express Tribune.

The devolution plan of 2001 introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime has brought in a remarkable number of women at local government levels, with 33% reserved seats for women at all levels in the new system, the study said.

Yet, discrimination against women is still witnessed in the civil services, it added.

Another study by the Planning Commission states that none of the federal ministries was setting aside 10% of its positions for women, as required under the Constitution. The report said there were only 112 women working in lower grade civil service positions against more than 2,500 men; at higher grades, the ratio was three women against 66 men. Most women were found in lower grade secretarial positions.

Meanwhile, women also remain under-registered as voters, even though they account for more than half the country’s population.

The number of registered women voters in Pakistan in 2008 was 356,037,78 compared to 453,065,40 men. The 2008 elections saw a drastic reduction in the number of women voters – with a 45% in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa alone. The number of male voters also declined by 18%, whereas the number of women voters declined by 39%. (ANI)

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