Immediately after the general elections of 18th February 2008, I was elected as the first woman Speaker of the National Assembly. After this unprecedented and historical milestone in the history of Pakistan, I started working towards the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to bring together women parliamentarians from across party lines to one single platform. The aim was to work collectively for the cause of women in Pakistan. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto always wanted women parliamentarians to unite as a strong and united voice of Pakistani women.Within a few months of assuming the office of Speaker in November 2008, I succeeded in establishing the long awaited and first Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.
Women face immense challenges around the world and Pakistan is no exception. Their needs and concerns, therefore, have to be addressed by women representatives collectively as a joint responsibility. Over the last decade, the context in which Members of Parliament approach their work is dramatically changing in Pakistan. Women parliamentarians are emerging politically stronger and more proactive. All legislation and policy-making has to be gender responsive. With this spirit, I attained a broad-based consensus amongst all women representatives in the two Houses of the Parliament, to become one voice of the women of Pakistan in the form of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.
The purpose of the WPC is to facilitate exchange of views and information on critical areas of concern, particularly social discriminatory practices at both national and international levels. The WPC also aims at making sure gender concerns are adequately translated into legislation, policies and programmes. Women empowerment is imperative for overall development and prosperity as well as for strengthening democracy in the country. We want to ensure parliamentary oversight for implementation of all our national and international commitments, and change the lives of common women.
With the keen interest and strong commitment demonstrated by the honorable members of our WPC, I am confident that we will continue to achieve our objectives.
With my sincere blessings,
Dr. Fehmida Mirza
On behalf of honorable members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), I welcome you to our official website.
After the general elections of 2018, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Government is now in place. Our government is keen to scale new heights in establishing effectual democratic values and good governance in the country. It is our belief that the importance of women in attainment of these goals cannot be underestimated. The role of women in democratic governance and sustainable development is critical in all processes and at all levels. In this regard the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) is a cross-party forum and a nerve centre for women parliamentarians, and can contribute tremendously.
In September 2018 the WPC entered its third tenure, in which we hope to make this non-partisan forum more vibrant, strategic and beneficial for the women of Pakistan. The WPC will work to enable women parliamentarians to optimally perform substantive and effective roles in the sustainable development of our beautiful nation. Through this forum, regardless of our political affiliations, we would like to join hands to give voice to our disadvantaged women, address their issues, and empower them economically, socially and politically at all levels. For this purpose, we shall reinforce our partnership with provincial women’s caucuses to work together as representatives of these women. We shall further strengthen our alliances with national and provincial women commissions, as well as civil society and key ministries and departments to achieve our mandate.
I assure you that members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) are keen to work together on key issues for the larger interest and benefit of vulnerable groups of our society.
Last but not the least, I would like to inform you that through this website, we will not only try to keep you optimally updated on the performance of our women parliamentarians and the Caucus. We would also like to interact with you on substantive and topical issues and seek your valuable input regarding all matters of public concern.
I hope that you will find this helpful in gaining insight into the WPC’s work and activities.
Leadership role and power of women parliamentarians cannot be underestimated. Their adequate and meaningful participation in political life is imperative to ensure pluralism and inclusivity in democracy. As more than fifty percent of the global population, women’s role in nation building and social development is crucial.
Women Parliamentarians must assume a meaningful and substantive role in women empowerment and gendered aspects of all development. The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in Pakistan is a cross-party forum. Its formation has been a watershed moment in the Parliamentary history of Pakistan. Very few countries provide women adequate representation in national legislatures, and including women at every stage of the decision making process is imperative. The Constitution of Pakistan ensures representation of women in the Parliament through general as well as reserved seats. However, the socio-cultural environment has acted as a hindrance towards the meaningful participation of women parliamentarians. I hope that the WPC continues to play a proactive role in gender sensitive legislation and gender responsive policies. The needs and concerns of women must be addressed by women representatives collectively.
I wish the new members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in the 15th National Assembly good luck. As bearers of Pakistani women’s aspirations and hopes, I would like to urge them towards strengthening their role as women Parliamentarians for the socio-economic and political empowerment of Pakistani women.
Shaista Pervaiz Malik