LAHORE- Women legislators, who constitute less than one-quarter of the National Assembly, outperformed their male colleagues by asserting themselves in their lawmaking and oversight roles during fourth parliamentary year, according to a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on the eve of the International Women’s Day.
Overall, women parliamentarians have been more active than men in introducing legislation and in respect of asking questions on Points of Orders and raising social issues through Calling Attention Notices, Resolutions and Adjournment Motions.
Out of total 53 Private Members’ bills that appeared on the Orders of the Day in the fourth parliamentary year, 20 had been authored by female lawmakers, who form only 23 per cent of the present House comprising 342 members. Of the Private Members’ Bills moved by women parliamentarians, 14 were introduced in the House, five not taken up while two were passed.
The female parliamentarians contributed exceptionally to oversight of executive by putting up questions. Out of 2,365 questions raised during the fourth parliamentary year, more than half (1,196 or 51 per cent) were put forward by female members. On average, 16 questions were submitted by each female MNA, almost four times more than their male counterparts who raised 1,169 questions.
Women legislators were part of 75 of the total 97 Calling Attention Notices either individually or jointly with their male and female colleagues. A closer look at the Calling Attention Notices shows that women parliamentarians are bringing to the floor of the House issues directly affecting the lives of the people. They raised such critical issues like the energy crisis, increase in power tariff, dilapidated condition of national highways, violence against women, draft electoral lists, disaster management, and increase in prices of petroleum products.
Out of 1,764 Points of Order raised in the House, the women parliamentarians’ share was 252 or 14 per cent. The female legislators representing PPPP raised almost half – (121) – Points of Orders, followed by PML-N and ANP (44 each), PML-Q (24), MQM (13) and MMAP (6).
Female representatives moved 42 Resolutions, either independently or jointly with other female or male colleagues, while their male counterparts sponsored 19 only. Twenty-five of the Resolutions were moved by single female members, three were sponsored by multiple female members and 14 jointly sponsored by male and female members. On the other hand, eighteen Resolutions were moved by single male members while one was sponsored by more than one male member.
Of total 46 Motions under Rule 259 appearing on the Orders of the Day, 20 were sponsored individually by female parliamentarians and 15 were sponsored in collaboration with their other male and female colleagues. Ten Motions were moved by single male members, while one was jointly moved by more than one male member.
FAFEN, which is a network of 42 civil society organisations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan, has observed that female legislators have been effective voices of constituents than their male counterparts in the Lower House, which is headed by the country’s first woman speaker. In the present National Assembly, 60 women were elected on reserved seats and 17 through popular vote.