girls education

girls education

Pakistan: Women voters threatend for being "un-islamic"

10h ago
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1. M/S women at the polling station queuing 2. C/U hands 3. M/S women checking identities 4. M/S women at the polling station 5. M/S woman casting her vote 6. M/S women sitting 7. M/S woman casting her vote 8. M/S women waiting to vote 9. M/S woman casting her vote 10. M/S women casting her vote 11. M/S M/S women casting her vote 12. W/S women queuing to vote 13. W/S women queuing to vote SCRIPT Pakistan: Women voters threatened for being "un-islamic" Prior to election day in Pakistan leaflets were handed out stating that it is "un-islamic" for women to vote. In response women's organisations decided to monitor polling stations and escort female voters in Swat Valley, as an extra security measure in case of an attack by militants. This year, Pakistan's highly anticipated general elections is being led by the youth as the population aged between 18-29 make up a third of the registered electorate body. However, what is more groundbreaking about these elections is the huge support by womens organisations to help ensure that women vote. This is particulary true in Swat Valley, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 2008 elections in Pakistan had 28,800 women polling stations, and yet in 564 of them, not a single vote was cast. In more conservative areas, like in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa providence, officials estimated that the women turnout was at 10-15 per cent. This year, Pakistan aims for a different result. A total of 37 million women voters registered for the general elections, which make up 44 per cent of the total electorate body. The women's peace group called, Aware Girls is one of the patrolling guards that is monitoring around 30 polling stations in the Swat Valley area. The 23 year-old founder of the group, Saba Ismail, was the mentor of Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year-old education activist, and says that the Pakistani woman's inspiration now comes from the young Malala. Malala Yousafzai was shot in October 2012 in an assassination attempt by the Taliban because of her advocacy for girls education in Pakistan. There are other organisations in Pakistan that also aim to change Pakistan's government by introducing more women participation. The Aurat Foundation, established in 1986, a women's rights organisation has been advocating for the increase of women representation in Pakistan's government. The group has encouraged women to become more active in politics by increasing woman activity from 17-33 per cent in provincial and national assemblies since 2008. Of the 23,079 candidates seeking a seat in the National Assembly, only 3.5% are woman, according to election commission. The eligible electorate body is made up of 86 million registered voters out of 180 million citizens of Pakistan. Nevertheless, there are still 11 million women who did not register for Pakistan's 2013 general elections.