Women with disabilities must be included in electoral process

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ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a roundtable discussion on inclusivity of election and the democratic tradition have urged reaching out to more disabled women.

The roundtable discussion was held on the political participation of women with disabilities in the capital on Wednesday.

The discussion was organised by the Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP) in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada, Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and National Forum of Women with Disabilities. It was attended by key representatives from the Election Commission of Pakistan, national and international development organisations, Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS), Pakistan Alliance for Inclusive Elections and leading disabled peoples organisations (DPOs).

“Canada believes that the full participation of women in democratic processes is critical for a legitimate and inclusive government,” said Perry Calderwood, the high commissioner of Canada.

“We welcome the efforts of this forum to seek greater access for women with disabilities.”

Participants of the discussion emphasised on taking specific collaborative actions to make an inclusive Pakistan elections regime, developing and implementing a comprehensive gender strategy by the ECP aiming at the enhanced participation of people with disabilities, especially women, in the 2018 general elections.

They also stressed on building the capacity of DPOs and empowering their members through training on the electoral system and government structure.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2017.