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Women: the 'B' team in Pak Parliament?

world Updated: May 05, 2008 16:28 IST
PTI
smart and savvy women's brigade in Parliament mean good news for Pakistani women this time round?

They are articulate, forthright and fiery and it's not easy to miss them inside or outside Parliament, dangling their chunky earrings or frequently adjusting their hair. But can the smart and savvy women's brigade in Parliament mean good news for Pakistani women this time round?

Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman, who is doing her second stint in Parliament on a reserved seat, could do little to improve the lot of women during her first stint.

The bills Rehman moved in the last House for empowering women met with little success as women members themselves opposed them.

Rehman, a former journalist and close aide of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, in fact, wrote about the dilemma of being a woman parliamentarian in an article "women parliamentarians have not been able to deliver on any of the promises that they make to themselves and others when they got sworn in as public representatives".

She also articulated her angst in an interview to a news magazine in 2005.

"But what is most heart breaking is to see educated women on the treasury benches twisting and turning with the political wind, using women's rights language to get ahead in the world, but abandoning their cause in the pursuit of ministries and even a lot less.

"It is for this reason that we were never able to form a caucus that actually addressed issues head-on."

So can Rehman, who believes women have a long way to go before they measure their success as politicians by what they have been able to achieve for other women, hope to change the lot of women now?