Pakistan faces a severe voter gender gap

Pakistan’s 127 million registered voters outnumber women by 10 million Registered to vote A general election is scheduled for February 8, 2024. That’s a huge gender gap in a country where women make up 49 percent of the population.

Although voting in Pakistan is a constitutional right for all adults, millions of women participated in past elections. Effectively barred from voting. Especially in Pakistan’s most conservative constituencies, political party officials, local elders, and other powerful figures have joined forces. Broadcasting news Telling women not to vote and sometimes physically barring them from the polls. Courts have been slow to uphold legal challenges to these practices.

Recent evidence of the gender gap required Voters must possess a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) to be eligible to vote. Several public awareness campaigns and mobile registration centers have been launched to make it easier for women to get these ID cards Can’t do that yet Due to restrictions on movement and barriers to education in Pakistan’s patriarchal, conservative society. Lack of CNIC deprives women of access to other essential services and benefits like government loans and monthly social security stipend. Benazir Income Support Scheme.

In 2017, Pakistan enacted the Act Election Act To address some of the causes of women’s disenfranchisement. The law requires that at least 10 percent of the electorate in any constituency be women for the election to be valid. But this low percentage does little to address the disparity.

The Constitution of Pakistan allows the government to achieve equality of citizens by adopting special provisions for the protection of women. United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) It obliges governments to „take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in political and public life,” including elections. CEDAW Committee, a General recommendationIt calls for the „full and equal participation of women” in democratic political institutions.

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Governments and parliaments should reflect the structure of society as a whole; The disappearance of millions of women voters means their concerns are under-represented in Pakistan. As the country approaches another general election, the government of Pakistan must take urgent steps to ensure that women participate on an equal footing in the electoral process.

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