WOMEN’S REPRESENTATION IN 13TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF PAKISTAN: ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GENDER QUOTA
Keywords:Gender Quota, Critical Mass Theory, Women's Representation, National Assembly, Pakistan
Traditionally, patriarchal mindset has kept women away from politics, considering it a male domain, resulting in under-representation of women in legislatures. Observing disparities in these representations, the United Nations in various conferences (1975-1995) recommended one-third of seats for women as gender quota. Gender quotas have become an effective tool to enhance women's representation in legislative bodies throughout the world. In Pakistan, all the three constitutions reserved seats for women, but this provision lapsed in 1988. In 2002 it was restored with 17 percent quota in the parliament. The 13th National Assembly elections turned in higher number of women in the house, raising an expectation that an increase in number of women would increase their voice in the decision-making bodies. The study analyzes the effects of a numerical increase of women representation in the National Assembly on inclusion of gender concerns in legislation, specifically on women issues. The available literature suggest although gender quota has increased in numbers, it has not influenced the legislation on women issues to an expected level. This study deploys critical mass theory and mix research method to examine the effectiveness of gender quota in Pakistan.
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