PIPS, Islamabad – Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) conducted the National Conference of Women Parliamentary Caucus on the 24th of November 2022 to promote the meaningful role of women parliamentarians in peacebuilding and sustainable development. Secretary WPC, Ms. Shahida Rehmani officially opened the forum and welcomed all the participants along with a thorough introduction of pro-women initiatives taken by WPC including the notification of the Sub-Committee on Post Legislative Scrutiny, gender budgeting, and electoral reforms, to ensure inclusion of women at national and grass-root level. German Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Alfred Grannas also joined the conference as a guest of honor and stressed that women’s inclusion at the decision-making level is a long process yet peaceful as it allows women to decide their role in a society that ultimately contributes to the development of a nation.
1st Session: Rendering Biases for Inclusive Democratic Processes: Creating Spaces for Substantive Role of Women Parliamentarians
1st session of the conference was dedicated to a panel discussion on rendering biases for inclusive democratic processes and the panel consisted of members national assembly and senators. Dr. Nafeesa Shah MNA chaired the session and stressed that we as parliamentarians need to address the differences, biases, and discrimination among the parliamentarians. She also pointed out that women parliamentarians are running more than half of the House business, however, we can see the very limited application and implementation of such laws that demands a joint effort to address the implementation issues. Similarly, MNA Ms. Kishwar Zahra, MNA Ms. Saira Bano, Senator Ms. Sana Jamali, and Senator Ms. Rubina Rauf put forward their suggestions to make the democratic process more inclusive in nature. 1st session was concluded with a question & answer session.
2nd Session: Role of Parliamentarians in Securing Peace and Social Cohesion
The second session of the conference was led by the representatives of provincial caucuses and assembly members that revolved around the role of parliamentarians in securing peace and social cohesion. At first, representatives shared the performance and working environment of provincial caucuses on establishing social cohesion and gender inclusivity. Furthermore, a representative from Punjab provincial assembly showed concern regarding the non-functionality of the Punjab WPC and requested the federal WPC to play its part in making WPC Punjab functional.
Speaker National Assembly Address and Inauguration of National Coordination Forum:
Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan officially inaugurated the National Coordination Forum which is designed by the team WPC to connect all WPCs on one platform. The purpose of the coordination forum is to engage WPCs in unanimously addressing women’s issues, to jointly work on pro-women legislation, and information sharing and to learn from each other’s best initiatives. Speaker National Assembly appreciated the purpose of the conference and the initiative of the national coordination forum. Honorable Speaker marked the performance of women parliamentarians better in comparison to their male counterparts. He suggested that once all women are together through forums like WPC their progress will enhance with leaps and bounds. Speaker NA showed his high hopes for the leadership of WPC in mitigating gender exclusion, and discrimination and gathering provincial women members under one agenda of sustainable development, and peacebuilding in the country.