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Discussion Paper Series on Women’s Political Leadership: Country Reviews Women’s Political Participation in South Asia
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Governance in all South Asian countries is imbued with a predominantly patriarchal character. This is reflected in the fact that women form a disproportionately small segment of representatives in elected bodies across all levels of governance, and several studies have indicated that even those women who are elected as representatives suffer severe limitations on their participation. In cognizance of this fact, the women’s movement in South Asian countries has been gaining strength in the last two decades, and demands for more equitable representation are being voiced across the sub-continent. Although some countries have introduced affirmative legislation to ensure a minimum level of representation of women in governance, such measures alone have been insufficient to make a significant sustainable impact on the participation of women in governance. As a precursor to working towards encouraging the participation of women in terms of numbers and bringing about a qualitative improvement in their participation in governance, it is imperative that research be undertaken into understanding the position of women within the political system they are located in. This paper presents an overview of the status of women’s participation in governance in five South Asian countries – Bangladesh,Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with emphasis on the local level of governance. The review is by no means exhaustive; it presents information in the form of country briefs on specific themes. These include legal provisions and state-led initiatives to ensure greater participation of women, the nature and impact of the participation of women,
and the barriers they face, specifically violence against women and economic insecurity, in keeping with the emphasis of the research project. Nepal has abolished monarchy and has restored a multi-party constitutional democracy. It is currently governed according to the Interim Constitution of Nepal, which was brought into force in 2007. The Interim Constitution abolished monarchy, and declared Nepal a federal democratic republic. It has provided for the formation of a Constituent Assembly, which acts as a unicameral legislature/Parliament and is charged with preparing the permanent Constitution for the country apart from governance. The Constituent Assembly was established in 2008, with 601
members elected on a mixed electoral system. A total of 335 members were elected through the proportional representation system from a single nation-wise constituency, 240 through the First Past The Post (FPTP) system from single-member constituencies, and 26 were nominated by the Prime Minister from minorities that did not win representation in the elections.
UNWOMEN ,   (2012 )
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Publication in English
Thematic Group:
 UNWOMEN : Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
14.01.00  -  Advancement Of Women
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