Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Female Political Participation in South Asia: A Case Study of Pakistan

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Female Political Participation in South Asia: A Case Study of Pakistan

Article excerpt

Abstract

The objective of the current study is to find out the male's perception about female political participation. Prior researchers in this area were mostly quantitative hence the current study is a qualitative study to get an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon. This study used purposive sampling technique and the findings of the study are based on 20 in-depth interviews and 2 focus group discussions. The study concluded that religious, economic and patriarchal mind-set is the main factors that hinder women in the field of politics. The findings of the current study can be effectively used to make women participate in a more productive way by increasing the awareness at the grass root level and by making appropriate policies and the national level.

Keywords: Women, Politics, local power structures, state institutions.

Introduction

Women constitute about half of the world's population. Their contribution in the social and economic sphere is also very significant by virtue of dual roles in the productive and reproductive spheres. But their participation in the politics remains unattended which is the most important institution of society that is related to the power and decision making processes. The women representation worldwide is only 15% and there are only 12 countries of the world that has 33% seats for women in parliaments (UNDP report, 2005). Women face obstacles to their political participation all over the world. Socio-economic factors as well as existing structures are considered as barriers to their advancement. In a patriarchal society like Pakistan the participation of women in political arena is ver y much in connection with males and how they perceive their participation. The constitution of Pakistan grants full participation of the women in Politics; nevertheless their participation in politics at all level remains meager due to cultural and structural barriers. At different times of the history the women political participation has been very low in Pakistan but the recent and 2002 parliament has shown the most representation of women in politics.

This paper tries to investigate the conceptual and material based exclusion of the women from politics and the historical context of women political participation in Pakistan. Further this paper will elaborate the factors that hinder or facilitate the women political participation with regard to the Male's perception. In the end the paper will draw policy based recommendations for the uplift and improvement of the women political participation at Global level and in Pakistan also.

The current study attempts to unearth how the male's perception is affecting the women political participation in Pakistan.

Research Question

"How the male's perception influence the women political participation in Pakistan"

Objectives of the Study

i) To gauge the perceptions of males about women's participation in politics at different levels and unearth factors that affect these perceptions

ii) To explore the role of local power structures, state institutions, existing policies and practices of the state and non-state institutions in forming males' perceptions towards woman's participation in politics in general and also about the women who occupy decision making positions in political parties/organizations

Literature Review

Bari, (2005) in a study formulated and narrated some important factors which hinder the women political participation. Ideological factors, political factors, socio-cultural factors, economic factors are very important in this regards. Besides these lack of capital and strategy for women political participation are also in the same regard.

According to a briefing paper in 2011 the women political participation is very much exclusive in Pakistan. Pakistan has a strong international and domestic legal framework for the protection of women's right to vote, but their exclusion from voting process remains a stark problem. …

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