Workshop on Role and Achievements of Women Caucuses for Pro-Women Legislative and Policy Reforms
Convener Women Parliamentary Caucus of Punjab Assembly, Ms. Kawal Nauaman said that to ensure gender equality, protection of fundamental rights for women and the eliminatation social injustice on sustainable grounds, it would be mandatory to enhance women’s meaningful participation in the democratic process and decision-making. She said this while addressing an experience sharing workshop at a local hotel, Lahore, organized by Westminster Foundation for Democracy UK and Aurat Foundation.
Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, Ms. Raheela Khadim Hussain appreciated civil society’s efforts to build the capacity of women parliamentary caucuses to raise women’s concerns and mainstream gender in the Assembly business. She stressed that women caucuses should play their role to oversee the implementation of laws and should also highlight the gender gaps related to violence and socio-economic empowerment of citizens.
Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Member National Assembly, said that creation of women and youth caucuses at the federal level has helped in developing pro-women legislative frameworks. She highlighted the importance of caucuses in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions. She said that the women caucus at the federal level is focusing on women entrepreneurship, skill development and job creation for women in the economic CPEC project.
Ms. Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, MPA from Sindh Assembly highlighted the achievements by the Sindh Assembly and said that women had worked hard to recognize their space in the political arena. She also said that it is very important to create inter-provincial linkages between women parliamentarians to enable learning best practices.
Ms. Shameela Aslam, General Secretary Caucuses, said that there are a number of legislations have been passed so the major focus shall now be to ensure implementation of pro-women legislation.
Ms. Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar, Senior Secretary Punjab Assembly, said that the assembly secretariat is providing research and legislative services to its members and vows to provide his support for women caucuses. He appreciated the role of women members during assembly business and highlighted that out of 36 private member bills, women MPs moved 16. Moreover, out of 149 resolutions, 46 has been moved by women MPs.
Dr. Farzana Nazeer, Ex. Convener Women Parliamentary Caucus, congratulated to the new caucus and said she has high hopes to push the women legislative agenda for the implementation of the Women Protection Act 2016, amendments in the Punjab Child Marriage Restraint Act 2015 (increase the age of girl marriage), efforts to increase women’s participation in sports, efforts for the establishment of health clubs through specific budgetary allocations, trainings through communication skills, IT training and inter provincial women parliamentarian exposure visits .
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ali Imran, Country Representative, Westminster Foundation for Democracy said that the Foundation is committed to strengthening the parliamentary performances through awareness on post-devolution roles and responsibilities of parliamentarians. He also highlighted the need and importance of provincial-federal parliamentary relationships and understanding of parliamentary procedures.
Ms. Mumtaz Mughal, Resident Director, Aurat Foundation said that the Foundation shall provide technical assistance and support for strategic visioning of women caucuses and provide legal backup to the caucuses. She stressed the role of women caucuses in social development, women’s empowerment, protection and economic justice.
The session was attended by over 100 parliamentarians, CSOs activists, government institutions and media personnel including MPAs Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Ms. Sadia Sohail, Ms. Nabeela Hakim, Ms. Tehseen Fawad, Ms. Gulnaz Shahzadi, Ms. Nighat Sheikh, Ms. Zebunisa, Ms. Farzan Butt, Ms. Lubna Faisal, Ms. Shah Jahan, Ms. Salma Butt, Ms Shahzadi Shamim, Ms. Rukhsana Kaukab and others. Speaking on the occasion, participants highlighted the importance of the role of assembly in the implementation of laws, strengthening the coordination among departments and enhancing the monitoring mechanisms.