Women’s Political Empowerment through Local Government in the Patriarchal Society of Pakistan
Keywords:Local Government, Gender Quotas, Women Representatives, Women Empowerment, Local Women Representaties, Community Empowerment, Devolution of Power, Gender Quota in Elections, Women Quota in Local Governemnt
The democratic local government empowers community members to decide their destiny. However, it bears different meanings for different people in different socio-cultural settings. This study assesses the intended outcome of the local government system, revived by General Pervez Musharraf’s regime in Pakistan since 2001 regarding women’s political empowerment. In the Devolution Plan 2001, the gender quotas of 33% have been reserved for women in all the three tiers of local government at the district level. However, the existing informal institutional forces like socio-cultural and religious practices did not let women to fully participate and achieve the desired political status. Local women’s representatives have not been able to participate meaningfully in the policymaking at the local level. Therefore, this study suggests revising the design of the local government with a focus on eligibility criteria for the candidates. Moreover, to ensure the political empowerment of women, policymakers should focus on other alternatives like women education, political awareness, and monitoring by the civil society and media.
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