News & Events
NCSW Holds Meeting of Stakeholders on Women Representation in Local Governments
Aug 03, 2013
NCSW - Press Release : women’s representation in Local Government 3 September 2013
At a meeting convened by NCSW on 3rd September 2013 with key stake holders to discuss NCSW’s position on women’s representation in local government (attached) and deliberate upon the Local Government laws as enacted in Punjab and Sindh and as proposed in KP and Balochistan. Participants of the meeting – civil society organisations, former parliamentarians and women rights activists – expressed grave concern and disappointment with the LG Acts in Punjab and Sindh whereby women’s representation has suffered a major set-back, having been reduced to one out of 9 in the directly elected first tier of Local Government in Sindh and two out of 13 in Punjab – a drastic reduction from a robust 33% in previous local governments. At other tiers Sindh Law provides for 22% indirectly elected seats for women and the Punjab law sets numbers (and not percentages) which may translate in some districts at less than 10% of total membership.
The meeting welcomed the proposed 33% of women’s seats in the KP and Balochistan draft Bills and urged that these must be retained.
The meeting endorsed the NCSW position issued on 31 July 2013 and reiterated that Constitutional provisions defining the parameters and spirit of democratically elected local government be strictly adhered to i.e. Article 32 (“The State shall encourage local Government institutions composed of elected representatives of the areas concerned and in such institutions special representation will be given to peasants, workers and women.”), and Article 140-A (“Each Province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments.”).
The meeting recalled that the consensus on women’s representation was established as far back as 1998 when all provincial assemblies passed resolutions for 33% reserved seats for women in all tiers of local government. Participants were at a loss to understand why that consensus had been broken.
Stressing their support of party-based elections at all levels and the principle of authority of elected councillors in decision making, participants strongly recommended the incorporation of the following provisions for women’s representation in all Local Government Laws (enacted and proposed) before the local government elections are held:
- 33% reserved seats for women at all levels;
- 5% quota for women in reserved seats for farmers, workers, non-Muslims;
- Direct elections for women on all reserved seats;
- Women elected on reserved seats be eligible for positions of nazims/naib nazims ( or equivalent positions);
- LG elections in FATA and ICT ensuring same levels of women’s representation as indicated above.
The meeting resolved to take forward the recommendations. NCSW announced that it would take up the issue with competent authorities in provinces and with parliamentarians.