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February 28, 2009

Plan chalked out to strengthen PPP Women’s Wing


February 28, 2009


The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Women’s Wing has chalked out a detailed plan to strengthen the wing and seek more formal representation on the party’s central decision-making bodies.

Plans to strengthen the women’s wing were developed by more than 60 senior representatives of the PPP Women’s Wing from all four provinces at a two-day workshop arranged by National Democratic Institute (NDI) under its new three-year programme to strengthen women’s participation in political parties.

The newly appointed PPP Women’s Wing President, MNA Faryal Talpur, announced plans to make the women’s wing an autonomous body through the creation of independent secretariats for the women’s wing in Islamabad and in all four provinces as well as at the district levels. She also announced that a membership drive has been launched to attract young women and girls to the party and a website for the PPP Women’s Wing will soon be launched.

Faryal welcomed the plans developed by the women at the workshop, which, she said, complement her efforts to strengthen the women’s wing.

At the inaugural session, the PPP Deputy Secretary-General and Federal Minister Senator Mian Raza Rabbani praised the frontline role that the PPP women had played in the struggle for democracy. Assessing the current political environment, Rabbani noted that Pakistan’s establishment and conservative forces are still active in their efforts against democracy and democratic institutions.

Former Canadian parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister Joy MacPhail told the workshop that women in political parties face similar challenges around the world but unity, effective organisation and collective action could help overcome many of the barriers to women’s political participation. She recommended that the women start with small actions and build on successes.

Plans to strengthen the women’s wing developed at the workshop are part of a National

Action Plan developed in December last year by women from five political parties including PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, ANP, and MQM. The National Action Plan sets out standards to strengthen women’s wings and increase women’s representation on all party decision-making bodies.

Workshop participants included the four provincial coordinators of PPP Women’s Wing and other provincial and district level office-bearers including Beelam Hasnain; MNA and Minister of State for Religious Affairs Shagufta Jumani; MNA Dr Zil-e-Huma; MNA Asma Arbab Alamgir; MNA Nafisa Shah; PPP Punjab General Secretary and MPA Azma Zahid Bukhari and others.

In her opening remarks, NDI Country Director Sheila Fruman said that creating more space for women was a winning strategy for parties because women represent more than half the voters. She praised the women for their efforts in last year’s elections, which, she said, were a major contribution to the party’s electoral success.

The NDI plans to conduct similar workshops for PML-N, ANP, PML-Q and MQM to assist women’s wings with the implementation of the National Action Plan in their parties.

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