Democracy in Pakistan has often been tenuous, marked by interventions and low voter turnout. However, there has been positive progress, with over 21 million new voters, including 11.74 million women, added to the electoral rolls. This narrows the gender gap from 11 million in 2018 to 10 million.
Despite these gains, women’s participation in politics faces challenges, including the fear of harassment and societal taboos. In some areas, women are still prohibited from voting. Local authorities must ensure women’s voting rights are protected. Some political parties have also barred women from voting, perpetuating misogyny.
Fortunately, updated election laws now require women’s votes to constitute 10% of the total votes in any constituency, giving them a stronger voice. Social media and increased access to technology have also empowered young women voters.
In 2023, it is crucial to address these issues, as women constitute 49% of the population. Encouraging women’s participation in politics is essential for Pakistan’s democratic future, especially in a challenging political landscape.