The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has offered recommendations to provinces for meaningful representation of women in local governments.
Based on the experience of women’s representation in local governments from 2001-09, the NCSW has suggested that the new provincial local government laws should ensure there is no rollback in the 33 per cent seats for women in all tiers of local government as well as in ancillary bodies such as committees.
The commission recommended that women should be allowed to contest general elections and a quota for women should be provided in the reserved seats for farmers, workers and religious minorities. Moreover, the 33 per cent representation should translate into meaningful numbers, that is, at least three to four women in each tier.
In a written statement, NCSW Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said the experience of women’s representation in local governments from 2001 to 2009 has demonstrated that a “critical mass of women in different tiers of local government was a key element in their political mainstreaming and full participation.”
“Affirmative action should be taken to facilitate the participation of women councilors in local government meetings through provision of travel allowances and funds for women’s development should be earmarked in the union council and district council budgets,” the NCSW proposed. The NCSW also has proposed that all reserved seats should be filled through direct elections.
Proposed Punjab LG Bill termed ‘undemocratic’
Civil society organisations have termed the proposed Punjab Local Government Bill, which was presented to the provincial assembly on July 27, “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional,” according to statements.
They have demanded party-based and constituency-based direct elections in a joint electorate system instead of indirect elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.