Voter Education to Diminish Barriers to Women Voting in Local Government Elections

As a matter of fact and by the virtue of geostrategic and geo-political positioning, the targeted districts Bhakkar and Dera Ghazi Khan has remained the focus of attention and its tribal and traditional culture keeps it inert. Although, the electoral history of Pakistan shows that targeted districts have been a part of democratic developments but still there was a huge bulk of masses who consider democracy as western agenda. Strong influence of religious clerics on the general masses has worsened the situation. Bhakkar and Dera Ghazi Khan had the lowest women turnout in the general elections of 2013. The process and results of the by-election in Bhakkar and Dera Ghazi Khan district depicted the picture of anti-democratic forces and society seemed to be tilted towards bradari/tribal system and has minimized the chances of masses' participation in electoral process specially Female. There was a dire need of raising awareness among the masses in district Bhakkar and DGK to vote beyond tribal affiliations and tribal chieftain's influence. The masses need to be educated about the power of their votes to bring positive change in their lives and their constituency. The objective of raising women electoral turnout can be achieved through continuous advocacy, awareness raising and ensuring free & fair elections. People from all walks of life have been involved in the process of awareness raising and advocacy. Keeping in mind the above mentioned realities of district Bhakkar & DGK a project on Female Voter Education was lunched successfully with following objectives.

  • To inform, sensitize and mobilize female voters’ about the importance of vote, and encourage their active participation in the elections.
  • To facilitate formation and capacity building of local civil society platforms, which could oversee the situation, discuss and debate the challenges, and come up with appropriate suggestions for corrective measures.
  • To engage community elders, political leaders and relevant authorities for creating conducive environment for increased female voters’ turnout.
  • To hold the authorities accountable for any weaknesses, flaws and lapses, this could undermine the prospects of female voters’ turnout.

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