Women’s right to voting
Right from the Preamble of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948), the “equal rights of women and men” are mentioned, together with the fundamental human rights, to be reaffirmed by the UN’s member states to form the background for the demonstration of the Declaration (Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948). The history of women’s rights can be traced back to the Babylonian law-code (the Code of Hammurabi, ca. 1780 BC) , and then one of the first legally documented declarations on women’s rights named Declaration of Sentiments signed in 1848 . In the modern time, a number of conventions and international conventions regarding women’s rights have been consented to set forth by many countries in the world, including Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1954), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1981) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976) which set out the framework to protect women’s rights including their right to voting and election.
Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”. (Article 2)
Article 21: “3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures”.
(Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948)
In Pakistan, women gained their rights to voting and standing for election in 1947 . The country signed the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (CPRW) in 18th, May 1954 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 17th, April 2008, and ratified all the three conventions named above (CPRW in 7th, December 1954; ICCPR in 23rd, June 2010; and CEDAW in 12th, March 1996). Pakistan had its first female Prime Minister in 1988 (Benazir Bhutto). According to the data of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) there was about 43 per cent of the roughly 86 million registered voters , in the elections in 2013. However, the voting right has not been made “universal” throughout the country because in many spotted villages and/or areas, women’s suffrage is not enabled.
According to the news article titling “Women in Pakistan town can't vote. Why? Because men say so.”, it is said that the women in Mateela, a village close to Islamabad, have not participated in elections for decades , which is explained in different ways. The men, when asked, reason that "We stop our women from going to polling stations because we think if they do, men would tease them by staring or touching them" . Women here were even said to have not “mental capacity”. In other cases, women cannot go to vote simply because...