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Women political Participation in Local Governance

From the local to national level, women’s leadership and political participation are compromised in Pakistan. Women are underrepresented as voters, as well as in leading positions. Under its initiative of Women Political Participation in local governance, WISE is striving for women’s fair representation in all political structures and levels.  The main focus of the initiative is to urge the Government to place in a viable LG system in line with Articles 140-A, 32 and 37 of the Constitution, conduct elections on regular basis and give women equal representation.  In the last 10 years WISE has been in the forefront in advocacy for the enhanced women participation and representation in local governance in Punjab at grass roots level since 2015 in collaboration with National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the districts of Lahore and Sheikhupura.

WISE undertook activities focusing capacity building of the local councilors, nurturing community women leadership and members of community-based vigilance committees through capacity building trainings to enhance their knowledge and skills to promote democracy at grass roots level. Advocacy seminars and stakeholders’ consultations with regard to the efficacy of the local governance were also organized involving LG officials, elected LG representatives, academia, members of civil society and the media joined these activities.

Besides this, to build the capacity of the elected lady councilors, WISE initiated a one-year project (June 2016- July 2017) in collaboration with USAID under its Small Grants and Ambassador Fund Program (NRSP-SGAFP) to promote the process of women political empowerment of LG structures in two districts of Lahore and Nankana Sahib. Under this initiative 636 elected lady councilors were imparted comprehensive training on LG system and role of women councilors to deepen their understanding of the functioning of the system.

A 30-Member Caucus of Women Councilors was evolved to sustain women political empowerment. By ensuring vertical and horizontal representation from all local government structures, representation of different political parties and categories like general, youth and minority. The purpose of LG caucus is advocacy for gender sensitive development at local level, mainstreaming of gender sensitive policies and services, and for highlighting women issues within the LGIs.