Awaz-e-Niswan (AAN), was established in 2016 as a pilot project, and was incorporated as a non-profit in November 2017 with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. AAN is envisioned as a membership based network of women voters across the country. It is not affiliated to any political party or organization and aims to represent the concerns of women voters in Pakistan, irrespective of their political, social or geographic locations. The rationale for AAN lies in the fact that women constitute 44% of registered voters in Pakistan yet unofficial estimates of female votes polled range from a low 15% to 50% in a few urban areas. For women to be recognized as influential constituents in their own right, female voters need to be organized, be aware of the significance and power of their vote and informed enough to exercise this power beyond the heat of the election days. Political parties and stakeholders need to recognize women as influential constituents in their own right and respond to their priorities.
Increased political commitment towards the needs and concerns of women voters in Pakistan with gender responsive political processes
To increase the visibility and influence of women voters and their issues among duty bearers including elected representatives, through the formation of a vibrant network of women voters that will draw attention and resources to priority areas of concern of female voters and engage with elected representatives and government functionaries.
Structure of Awaz-e-Niswan
AAN has a national secretariat at the Center of Gender and Policy Studies. The Secretariat provides leadership towards meeting the goals and objectives of the network and pools expertise on different issues. It provides expertise and mentoring to the local chapters as needed. It also provides mentoring and technical support to local chapters for development and implementation of their action plans. The Secretariat researches and prepares policy briefs on women’s political participation and builds the capacity of the local chapters.
Awaz-e-Niswan will have the local chapters, which will be self-governing and self-sufficient bodies adherent to the guiding principles of the network. Women 18 years old and above across the country will be members of the network. The minimum number of members in a local chapter is 20. Each chapter will collect a membership fee agreed to by consensus of the chapter members.
Each local chapter will have a governing body democratically elected by the general members voting. Local chapters will prepare their own plans based on the priorities identified by the members and will regularly interact with district government and elected representatives in order to raise women’s specific concerns and work for gender equitable budgetary allocations and outcomes.