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Female Political Participation in Pakistan

Almost half of the world population consists of Women but due to gendered social structure, women are discriminated in various spheres of life and are more subjected to problems in many aspects. (Naz, 2011; Khan, 2011; Daraz, 2012). It is also fact that women are considered as a weak section in the world of men. (Bari, 2005). Anyhow, to gain political power for the women is not ending, but it is helpful in exciting the society for political and social empowerment, which would further inspire the overall development of society (Mahmood, 2004:151). Women’s political empowerment means the autonomy of women to cast vote according to their consent, contest election, political participation, political expression and political demonstration, power politics, authority, decision making and implementation regarding their actions, needs and priorities (Ibrahim, 2011).

Nature and participation of women in politics as well as empowerment differ from country to country and district to district. The fact of this variation is the socio-political culture and economic setup (Naz et al, 2011:45). It has been observed that women have to face many weaknesses throughout the world. Gendered setup and discrimination are major in this regard. The third world, in this context is on the edge of more disasters (Naz, 2011; Khan, 2011; Daraz, 2012; Ibrahim, 2011). The grade of women in the global is secondary and they do not have any right to raise their vice against economic and political affairs (Naz, 2011 and Khan, 2011).

The men are dominated having superior position to the women in employment and political activities. Females do not take interest in the politics of the country. Women have less knowledge regarding political parties as well as political system prevailed over the country (UNDP, 2005). In Pakistani society, women’s political empowerment is blocked by three different interconnected grouping; socio-economic, societal structure and religious argumentation (Shaheed, 2009:26).

Women are retained from gaining political experience and skill by each male dominant. Physically, it is very tough for the women to enter in political filed with burden of children. Less financial resources are harmfully effected on decision making powers within society and family unit (Aderinwale, 1997). The cultural norms of Pakistani society encourage the segregation and isolation of women mostly using justification of religion. The Council of Islamic Ideology (a constitutionally created body) is also responsible for some of the most retrogressive opinion about women’s legal and social status. The opinion of Council of Islamic Ideology creates huge problems in general and political participation of women. For example, religiously formulated positions that argue for gender segregation and female isolation (purdha) limits women’s right of entry to resources in general; prevent from the simple act of casting vote and their candidature (Shaheed et al, 2009:26-29).

The debate as mentioned above transparently shows that discrepancy at the pitch of politics and political empowerment of women is deeply prevailing throughout the globe. Further, the problem has degenerated consequences in the rural areas where the code of life is mostly run by tradition. Such traditions confer more power to male segment of the society who are enjoying more privileges in the field of politics and powers (Akutu, 1997). In this perspective, the target area of this study, i.e. a traditional Pakhtun society also runs under the centuries old customary law of Pakhtunwali (Naz, 2011 and Khan, 2011). A major source of division and social-cultural, Religious, Economic and Political lines is gender in Pakhtun civilization. The issue of gender discrimination in Politics and Political empowerment is at peak due to Pakhtunwali and sex isolated Socio- cultural system.

There are many reasons of the problem like lower literacy rate, continuous negligence of female’s rights with special reference to the freedom of expressions and role in decision making on household and society level. The factual position is that the female’s rights to participate in politics and Political empowerment are not accepted through the legislature. Furthermore, male supremacy, lack of Economic unrestraint, and religious false impression are the factors, which barricade their political empowerment (Ali, 2010). The impact of this kind of negligence is effecting the national progress. Where the progress is a process needs unity of all groups of society, leading towards more and more participation in Economic, Social and Political activities (Saleem, 2010:25). Resultantly, females are forced to live unhappy life under the strictly defined rules of Pakhtunwali and centuries old conservative perception of male among pakhtun of the study area.

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