The European Union’s Delegation to Pakistan organised a workshop on ‘Women and Elections’ in Islamabad.
In the run up to International Women’s Day, this workshop sought to explore ways to increase the participation of Pakistani women in general elections. It gathered women and men from a broad spectrum of the Pakistani civil society.
For the first time, women Ambassadors of EU Member States in Pakistan headed roundtable discussions on separate topics relating to elections. The topics included and some of the main recommendations were media and social media – 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 to Pakistan. The discussions on the topic 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.
The envoys said that political parties should be sensitized to the need of giving equal opportunities to female candidates for projection and presentation in electronic media. An election specific gender sensitive Code of Conduct be developed by media itself.
They stressed 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.
It was suggested that the Election Commission of Pakistan, media outlets and non-governmental organizations should take extra measures to carry out gender sensitive voters’ education in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and reach out to women to participate in electoral processes as candidates also.
Another topic was access, mobility – To remove physical, social and cultural barriers to women wishing to register and vote, moderated by Jeannette Seppen, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Pakistan.
The women ambassadors discussed vigorous Efforts to maximize Registration of Women as Voters prior to General Election 2018 and measures to create conducive environment for women’s participation in electoral processes.