- Women lawmakers attend more assembly’s sittings than their male counterparts
PESHAWAR: Despite less in number, women legislators performed better by contributing more to the agenda items than their male counterparts in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, observes Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in a report released on the performance of women legislators observed between June 2013 and February 2017. A ceremony was arranged in Peshawar on Thursday to pay tribute to women legislators for their remarkable contribution in enriching the agenda of the house.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Meher Taj Roghani was the guest of honour, who presented shields to women lawmakers on the behalf of Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability – Free and Fair Election Network (TDEA-FAFEN).
Dr Roghani applauded the efforts of women lawmakers in raising women issues in the assembly and playing their role in the empowerment of women, despite severe challenges. She said as citizens, women have to fight for their equal rights. She said the importance of women legislators came to fore during the elections of Senate of Pakistan.
TDEA-FAFEN’s former Chairperson and Executive Director of Paiman Alumni Trust, Mossarat Qadeem urged the women lawmakers to work in unison and enhance the role of women in political and electoral processes. She commended the services of women legislators despite their considerably low representation in the assembly. She urged the women legislators to develop linkages with the community to serve even better.
TDEA-FAFEN Chief Executive Officer Shahid Fiaz gave an overview of FAFEN’s work and its achievements in the areas of electoral and parliamentary reforms. He paid special tributes to Aurat Foundation’s founder late Nigar Ahmed for her services for the uplift of women.
However, despite all challenges, women lawmakers have a higher attendance rate in the assembly sittings than male lawmakers. According to the official attendance record, on average, a woman lawmaker attended 167 of 219 (76 per cent) sittings held so far whereas a male lawmaker attended 133 (64pc) sittings. A majority of the women have more than 70pc attendance during the reporting period.
Furthermore, the women lawmakers contributed more than one-fifth of the assembly’s agenda during last 44 months. They submitted 693 (20pc) Questions, eight adjournment motions (16pc), 47 Calling Attention Notices (17pc), thus demonstrating their interest in the core function of overseeing the executive performance.
They also represented public issues and aspirations through resolutions. The women sponsored 46pc of the resolutions brought before the house. Similarly, they also contributed to the legislation by sponsoring six out of 17 private members bills.
The assembly as an institution also responded to some of the women issues by enacting relevant legislation or making recommendations to the government through resolutions. The Lady Health Workers program was regularised while the laws were put in place to protect working women’s rights and promote breastfeeding.
The assembly also adopted eight women-specific resolutions that include resolutions condemning violence against women and encouraging their participation in the political process. The lawmakers sought the establishment of Women Parliamentary Caucus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and Women Development Department in the government.