A vote for women

Published: April 22, 2012

NADRA has registered nearly 40 million women as part of the process of ensuring they are able to cast a ballot. PHOTO: FILE

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has registered nearly 40 million women in the country, as part of the process of ensuring that every adult woman in the country has a national identity card and is able to cast a ballot. This is an important exercise, given that for decades the figure for women voters has remained far lower than that for men. This is an anomaly statistically, which has lacked the attention of the authorities concerned for decades. By handing out national identity cards to women, we create awareness about the need for them to come forward at polling time.

It is to the credit of NADRA that it has made such a big effort for this purpose, dispatching mobile teams all over the country — especially to remote areas — in an attempt to reach a large number of women. It has already been able to put over five million women in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the rolls. This is significant in an area where the registration of women has traditionally remained low and stigmatised. The matter is also being approached in a highly pragmatic fashion, with NADRA acknowledging the role that NGOs have played in raising awareness of the issue and assisting the body in its campaign.

However, we must remember that more needs to be done after putting down the names of women on the rolls. The fact is that in too many places, agreements are reached between male heads of clans or tribes, which disallow women from going to polling stations to cast their votes. This practice has to be prevented. The Election Commission of Pakistan has taken note of such ‘deals’ in the past and the ongoing NADRA exercise marks another step forward in this regard. Efforts must also be made to make women aware that they should use their individual judgment in determining who to vote for. They need to look at how their own interests can be best protected through the use of their votes. Perhaps, this process will begin in earnest across the country as more and more women receive their national identity card documentation and realise that they too have a standing as citizens.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Ravish
    Apr 23, 2012 - 6:32AM

    Yes, but to vote. women need to come out of their homes, which is looked down upon. Isnt that the same reason they are discouraged from working outside home?

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  • sharifL
    Apr 23, 2012 - 10:42AM

    Good news. A step in the right direction. We should, slowly but surely make sure that women are made aware of their role as equal partners in social and political areas. Eventually, we will have to make quotas in all spheres of life, including work. Only when women can get out and earn money will they receive respect and have a say to enhance their status. A typical scene in bazars is that only men work in shops and stores and few women are there even to purchase household commodities. Political parties must also fix quotas for them in top slots. If they get divorce, must get allowances from the ex to maintain their standard of living. This concept of slipping as a house wife to burden on her parents (if they are still alive) or become beggars is shameful and a disgrace to our society.

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  • aslam khwaja
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:08PM

    the major factor of enrolling in the voter list and before that having the CNIC is the Benazir Income Support Program which is nothing for the urban babus for its 1000 rupees per month but is a big support for the women of the under privilege classes

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  • Ebrahim
    Apr 24, 2012 - 4:56AM

    A welcome news indeed. Pakistan is moving in the right direction of ensuring equal opportunities for all. Kudos to NADRA.Recommend

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