SAP discusses gender sensitive democracy charter


South Asia Partnership (SAP) Pakistan held a meeting where a charter of gender sensitive democracy was discussed. The charter demands an end to the discriminatory practices against the women that prevail in the family, communities and in the political systems, including the governance institutions, political parties and in society as a whole. The meeting maintained that promotion of gender equality and an environment for adequate participation of women in the public arena of electoral politics was needed.
The charter has been developed with the widest possible consultations during the last two years with different stakeholders, including civil society groups like parliamentarians, lawyers, academicians, media persons, human rights activists, representatives of governance institutions and intellectuals. These civil society groups have been working during this period at district, national and regional level on the issue of “engendering democratic governance in Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.” The charter has been developed during various discussions of civil society groups held in Nepal in 2011.
The charter demands an end to the gender insensitive male dominated culture of the political systems of the South Asian region in order to encourage women politicians to firmly establish themselves in decision making positions.
It also demands an end to the culture of impunity by punishing perpetrators of corruption and violence against women in politics to establish gender justice by creating a congenial environment for safe and secure participation of women in politics.
According to the charter, this process of engendering democracy is also important as it will strongly touch upon the issue of justice and poverty in the society. It notes that efforts to engender democracy can be achieved by deepening commitment to democratic values and processes through good governance, eliminating corruption and celebrating diversity.
It urged the governments of the member states of the region to realise the standards and principles mentioned in the charter and act to implement them within a precisely defined time frame.
SAP Nepal Executive Director Rohit Kumar Nepali, SAP Executive Director Muhammad Tahseen, Rabbiya Bajwa, a lawyer, member of National Democracy Watch Group Pakistan, Habib Tahir, a lawyer, human rights activist, member of Local Democracy Watch Group, Farheen Mughul, a parliament member and Amina Zaman, member of National Democracy Watch Group, participated in the meeting.