06-The Local Government System of Pakistan: Participation, Representation and Empowerment of Women.
Politics is the field where women have been ignored since ancient times, due to the political notions determined by ideological beliefs and cultural norms. Among the United Nations’ measures remove gender inequalities, includes recommendation for reserving 30 per cent seats for women in legislatures. In Pakistan, this remarkable change was effected in 2000, as it reserved 33 percent seats for women at the local government and 17 per cent at the Provincial/National Assemblies and the Senate level, so about 40,000 women entered in local bodies throughout the country in 2000-01, and almost 55,000 women contested local government in 2005. Despite these developments, women are still facing challenges that deter the full realization of their roles as active interlocutors of policy-making. Keeping in view these aspects, this paper has analyzed the local government, focusing on women, exploring whether the increasing number of women in legislatures is merely a numerical strength, or is empowering them, too, Whether they are the ‘subjects of change’ or the ‘agents of change.’ It is calculated that administrative structures of local government is male-dominated, whereas women are trying to ensure their position, however, gendered barriers remain unbroken.