Young Women Political Leadership Program

AWARE GIRLS’ Launched Campaign for increasing Women’s Participation in Political and Electoral Processes

 

Aware Girls has launched an intensive three years program in District Peshawar, Swabi, and Mardan to increase the political participation of young women by capacity building trainings of young women activists in political leadership for good governance, through community attitude transformation activities such as meetings and media events; through developing citizens committees of both males and females in each district who will develop citizens charter of demand for increased political participation, and will advocate with the political parties for increased political participation.

 

Organizations of Mardan, Swabi, and Peshawar who are interested to become partner in the project send your profile to aware_girls@yahoo.com

 

 

Challenges to the Political Participation of Women

 

There is little or no participation of women in the political process in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan (0-30% women voted in 2008). The political parties known as Popular, Democratic and Secular follow the tribal and feudal norms, and readily fall in with the wishes of religious extremists and local conservative forces, making decisions and agreements to restrict women from casting votes or taking part in the political process. If in some cases women are allowed to cast their votes, they will follow the choice of male members of their families. Furthermore there are other challenges which hinder women’s active participation in political processes which include:

 

  • The notion that politics is a ‘men only’ job and the lack of young women’s interest in elections and political-democratic processes
  • The patriarchal norms which limit women to family roles and prevent them from taking decision making positions within the political parties
  • The inaccessibility of polling stations for women
  • Bans on women’s voting by the local leadership/religious leaders, political parties and even the Election Commission of Pakistan
  • Women’s lack of trust in politicians and political processes to incite change.

 

 

AWARE GIRLS working towards political empowerment of women

 

To address the challenges and to increase political participation of young women AWARE GIRLS has developed the following strategy:

 

1 – Capacity building of women

Young female political activists will trained on ‘women’s political participation for good governance’. A group of 30 young women will be trained in each district, whose task will be to mobilise other young women in their communities to become more engaged in civic, political, and democratic processes.

 

2 – Baseline surveys

The trained young women will then conduct a baseline survey in their districts to discover the challenges to women’s participation in the electoral and political processes.

 

3 – Community meetings

In each community Aware Girls project will hold meetings with  men and women at the grassroots level to educate and inform them about the importance of women’s participation in electoral processes and to raise awareness about the importance of community accountability for good governance

 

4 – Establishing Citizen’s Committees

Two Citizen’s Committees will be established in each district; one male and one female as the gender segregated conservative culture of the KP Province means that men and women may not feel able to voice their views to each other. T

 

5 – Developing Citizen’s Charter of Demands

With the consultations of the Citizen’s Committees ‘Citizen’s Charter of Demands’ will be developed. The Charter will clearly state that the communities want a free, fair and smooth participation of women in electoral processes. The charter will also enforce community demands around women rights’ issues such as women’s health and education.

 

6 – Citizen’s annual dialogue with political parties

Annual dialogues of the Citizens Committees will be conducted with Political Parties and Parliamentarians to advocate increased women’s political participation through citizens charter of demand.

 

7. Radio campaign to widen awareness

There will be an annual intensive month of programming, running from Pakistan Women’s Day (February 12th) to International Women’s Day (March 8th)

 

8. Replication in Peshawar

Aware Girls will focus their work on rural areas, since these are the ones where participation is lowest. However, the programme will be replicated in Peshawar, to provide an urban focus.

 

Organizations of Mardan, Swabi, and Peshawar who are interested to become partner in the project send your profile to aware_girls@yahoo.com

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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