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Press Release Womens representation in Local Government: NCSW position
Aug 31, 2013
Press Release Women’s representation in Local Government: NCSW position
31 August 2013
National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), in view of the forthcoming Local Government elections in all provinces (September 2013) and the urgency for enacting LG law in each province, strongly recommends principles to be adopted by all political parties in provincial assemblies for women’s meaningful representation.
NCSW’s position is in keeping with its mandate and is based on Constitutional provisions and the experience of women’s representation in local government especially from 2001- 2009.
Two Constitutional provisions (Article 32 and Article 140 A) define the parameters and spirit of local government i.e. of inclusiveness of marginalised groups and devolution of authority and responsibility as the third tier of government. Article 32 states that: “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 prescribes that: “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 experience of women’s representation in local government (2001- 2009), demonstrated that a critical mass of women in different tiers of LG was a key element in their political mainstreaming and full participation. Women counsellors, UC nazims and naib nazims, members/nazims of District Assemblies when given the space and opportunity rose to the demands of their position. Some from among them went on to become members of provincial and national assemblies.
NCSW therefore recommends that new law in each province should ensure that:
· There should be no roll back from the 33% reservation of seats for women at all tiers of local government; seats may be increased but not decreased;
· All tiers of local government are of a size that translates 33% into meaningful numbers of women (at least 3-4)
· Women shall also be eligible to contest on general seats;
· A quota for women in the reserved seats for farmers, workers and non-Muslims is provided;
· All reserved seats are directly elected on the basis of joint electorate;
· There is provision for 33% representation of women in ancillary bodies/committees;
· All counselors are considered/treated as equal regardless of their election on reserved seats or on general seats;
· Affirmative action is taken to facilitate full participation in LG meetings through provision of honoraria/TA-DA for women councillors;
· Mandate dedicated funds for women’s development in UC/District Council budgets.
Additionally, NCSW recommends that:
· LG elections in keeping with the democratic spirit should be party-based;
· In keeping with the spirit of devolution mechanisms for the devolution of municipal powers and fiscal responsibilities should also be defined;
· LG structure at each tier should have built-in grievance mechanism as well as accountability system;
· Steps to be taken for LG elections in FATA following the principles given above for women’s inclusion.