Lahore, March 7 (Dawn): Women members performed better than their men in the proceedings of the Punjab Provincial Assembly between June 2013 and February 2017, according to a survey conducted by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
This despite the fact that they are in a minority in the assembly, the international non-profit organization revealed in a press event on Tuesday.
- Women make up 20% of assembly members, but their presence in the provincial cabinet is only 11%. However, despite a lower numerical strength, they provide “tough competition” to their male counterparts on nearly all indicators of parliamentary performance.
- Not only were female lawmakers in Punjab observed to be more regular in assembly attendance in the period observed, they were also more generous in contributing to the agenda and debates of the assembly.
- An analysis of attendance records showed that 69% of women tended to attend a sitting as compared to 48% of men.
- Each female lawmaker attended 111 sittings on average during the reporting period, whereas each male lawmaker attended only 86 sittings.
- The female participation rate was also slightly higher than men. 81%c of the women took part in the proceedings by contributing to agendas or debates, as compared to 80% of men.
- Nearly one-third of public importance businesses were originated by women.
- The agenda initiated by women related to sectors such as governance, education, health and social welfare.
- Female lawmakers also highlighted matters related to women’s health, violence against women, female education and employment.
- The assembly took legislative action on a number of women-specific issues.
- It legislated for increasing representation of women in policy-making bodies as well as for protection of women against violence.
- Laws were put in place for an institutional mechanism for regulation of employment conditions for women, restriction of child marriages and mandatory provision of maintenance by husbands for their wives and children.
- The resolutions of the assembly recommended the government to improve women’s health and facilitate women citizens in government offices.
The speaker of the Punjab Assembly congratulated female lawmakers on their better performance in the provincial assembly, and said that the Punjab Assembly is committed to resolving the issues raised by women.
(The featured image shows the inside of the Provincial Legislative Assembly in Pakistani Punjab. Men and women sit in separate sections)