Organisational Setup

The approved Rules of the WPC provide for a comprehensive mechanism to lead and manage the forum in the best possible manner and ensuring an optimum meaningful participation of all members of the Caucus. According to the WPC Rules, the Caucus functions through three main decision-making bodies:

The Patron: A woman legislator, serving the highest legislative office (either as Speaker, the Chairperson Senate, Deputy Speaker or the Deputy Chairperson Senate) shall become the patron of the Caucus. The Patron is to preside over the meetings of the General Assembly and the Working Council, and convene their meetings on as and when required. She is authorized to take any decisions for the working of the Caucus, which are required to be ratified by the General Assembly. In addition, she is also authorized to appoint the Secretary and the Treasurer of the WPC from amongst the Members of the Caucus in consultation with the General Assembly.

The Working Council: The Working Council comprises of representatives of all the parliamentary groups in the parliament that have women representation. Its members are chosen for a period of one year by the Patron in consultation with the General Assembly. It meets on frequent basis, as and when desired by the Patron, and is authorized to take decisions and make plans for the effective functioning of the Caucus.

The Secretary: The Secretary is appointed by the Patron in consultation with the General Assembly for a period of one year from amongst the Members of the Caucus and is responsible for running the day-to-day business of the WPC. She is also responsible for keeping the records of the General Assembly and Working Council meetings, setting their respective agenda and getting their decisions implemented through the Secretariat.

The Treasurer:  The Treasurer is also appointed by the Patron in consultation with the General Assembly from amongst the Members of the Caucus for a period of one year. All financial matters, including the accounts, are dealt by her in association with the Secretary.

The General Assembly: Comprises of all the Members of the Caucus. Only women legislators are eligible to become the Members of the Caucus. They are required to seek membership by paying the membership fee, followed by monthly dues on a quarterly basis. Membership of any member who fails to pay her dues for two consecutive quarters shall be suspended. The membership can only be revived after seeking fresh membership. All decisions are taken by the General Assembly, which is bound to meet at least once in every session of the Parliament.

The Secretariat: The Rules provide for a Caucus Secretariat that will assist the work of the above-mentioned offices and bodies under the direct supervision of the Secretary WPC.

At the support level, the WPC Secretariat is assisted by the Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator who are officials appointed by the Caucus. In addition, there is also an Assistant Coordinator who is an official of the National Assembly seconded to the WPC along with a Peon. With this setup, the work of the WPC was carried out well. In case of extra technical support, consultants were engaged periodically.

The Caucus has been allocated an office space in the Parliament Building with state- of-the-art multi-media and IT equipment, a Conference room, Office of the Secretary and workstations for the Secretariat Officials.

Resources

Lack of basic administrative support can be a barrier for the sustainability of such informal groups as caucuses. In many instances, women‘s caucuses do not receive any support from their respective parliaments such as financial resources, support services or even the office and meeting spaces needed to organize their work. Meeting arrangements can be difficult and must be organized around the formal business of the parliament. As can be seen, the WPC in Pakistan has been fortunate in this regard whereby, it has been given a space for its secretariat with state of the art equipment and human resource in terms of an assistant coordinator and a peon.

In terms of its financial resources, the WPC sustains itself from the following sources as provided by the Rules:

  • Membership fee collected from the women parliamentarians;
  • Donations from Parliamentarians/Government;
  • Technical Assistance/ Support from donors in some activities.

In 2011 the Prime Minister of Pakistan made a significant donation to the WPC. With the given resources, the WPC has managed to survive and retain its independent status. It is not dependent on the Parliamentary budget and seeks technical assistance for publications and event management from a carefully selected list of donors, like the UNDP's SDPD Project, the Heinrich Boll Stiftung, and UN Women. . The seed money donated by the Prime Minister has been prudently used so far and plans were being made to invest that money as an endowment-fund. It is now anticipated that this seed money would be invested for the WPC by the next leadership of the Caucus.