Women’s Participation in Politics in Pakistan

GIDS Working Paper No. 06-21          

Fareeha Zafar
Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS)
Lahore School of Economics, Lahore

Anum Sami
MPhil Student
Lahore School of Economics, Lahore


While the exclusion of women from the political arena results from
several structural, functional and individual factors that vary in different
social contexts across countries, the common underlying dynamic is that
of patriarchy. The Global Gender Index has brought women’s interests
and their representation in the political process to the forefront by
identifying political empowerment of women as a key development
indicator. Political representation, however, is a complex and nuanced
process. This research paper argues that while the extent and content of
women’s representation is fundamentally dependent on gender and
electoral process partisanship of political parties, the precise effect and
interaction of gender and partisanship are shaped and conditioned by
contextual factors, specifically a political environment of receptiveness to
women in positions of political power. It also aims to identify the major
socio-cultural, religious and other challenges which women face as well
as the role of state actors (government, civil society and NGOs) in
promoting or restricting women’s participation. Finally the research aims
to highlight the contribution of women politicians as members of
provincial and national assemblies. This research has implications both
for researchers trying to understand women’s political representation as
well as for citizens and political elites engaging in the process of
representation. Read More

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