European Union organizes a workshop on Women and Elections


ISLAMABAD, Mar 6 (APP) – The European Union’s Delegation to Pakistan in a workshop on ‘Women and Elections’ held here Sunday underlined the need that political parties should be sensitized to giving equal opportunities to female candidates for projection and presentation in electronic media.
The workshop in connection with the International Women’s Day, sought to explore ways to increase the participation of Pakistani women in general elections. It was strongly recommended that capacity of representatives of media outlets be built in gender sensitive reporting and gender responsive information sharing as well gender disaggregated electoral information dissemination.
It also highlighted the need of an election specific gender sensitive Code of Conduct to be developed by media itself.
Women Ambassadors of EU Member States in Pakistan headed roundtable discussions on separate topics relating to elections.
To promote participation of women in elections both as voters and candidates, and to promote /ensure gender-sensitive reporting, moderated by Ingrid Johansson, Ambassador of Sweden, it was noted that it should be included in the Regulatory Framework that both
state owned and private media outlets should allocate time to create awareness regarding importance of women participation in electoral process as voters and candidates.
About the electoral processes in FATA, it was suggested that ECP, media outlets and NGOs should take extra measures to carry out gender sensitive voters’ education in FATA and reach out to women to participate in electoral processes as candidates also.
To remove physical, social and cultural barriers to women wishing to register and vote, moderated by Jeannette Seppen, Ambassador of the Netherlands, it was recommended that vigorous efforts to maximize Registration of Women as Voters prior to General Election 2018 should be made besides taking appropariate measures to create conducive
environment for women’s participation in electoral processes.
To promote a gender-sensitive monitoring and observation of elections, moderated by Brigitta Blaha, Ambassador of Austria, it was recommended that the domestic observation groups must ensure at least 40 to 50 percent participation of women observers as part of observation groups.
In order to mainstream gender sensitization across the board a training cell should be formed with significant expertise on issues of gender for across the board sensitization of gender issues, it recommended.
To promote gender-sensitive inner-party democratic policies, moderated by Ina Lepel, Ambassador of Germany, it was suggested that Political Parties Act to be amended, requiring each political party to give at least 35% of tickets to women candidates.  Strengthen intraparty elections requirements to make the inclusive and promote equal opportunity, it added.
It was demanded that the registration of political parties should be linked with a certain number of female office bearers in the executive council.
Political parties, it added should play a strong role in mobilizing and facilitating women voters, including support for CNIC registration.
Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean-François Cautain said, “Gender equality is a core value of the European Union and enshrined in its legal and political framework.
Discriminatory laws, practices or cultural norms often limit girls’ and
women’s social, economic and political participation. The gap is even larger when gender inequality intersects with other forms of exclusion such as disability, age, caste, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or geographical remoteness. The EU is supporting Pakistan in its efforts to promote more women as full stakeholders in Pakistani politics in particular in the run up of next year’s general elections.”
Recommendations resulting from the discussion will be presented in a seminar being organised by the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on March 7.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and to accelerate action towards gender parity. This year, the European Union’s theme is “Be bold for change” and “For women’s rights,” which is a call to all to help forge a more
gender-inclusive world.
“Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900s. It is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. IWD is a powerful global platform that unifies action for gender parity while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It is based on ten values: justice, dignity,
hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy and forgiveness.