No democracy can claim to be truly representative of its people if it does not include its women. The present Parliament

adheres to this notion, which is reflected in its over three-year performance. I am indeed proud to have presided over a House

that has so far legislated on more than a dozen Bills, pertaining to women and children. On one hand, the House passed the

historic 18th Amendment in the Constitution, which paved the way for Universal Education through the inclusion of

Article 25-A, while on the other, it has also specifically dealt with issues like gender-based violence and crimes.

–Dr Fehmida Mirza at the Inaugural Ceremony of the 2nd

International Islamic Women Police Conference, 2011.

Women’s reserved seats had existed throughout the constitutional history of Pakistan from 1956 to 1973.During Zia-ul-Haq’s era in 1981, 20 women were inducted in the Advisory Council, however having no power in the executive council. Going through the different governments in Pakistan, in 2008 the elections saw the first women Speaker of the House elected, Dr Fehmida Mirza, who was not only the first one in Pakistan but the whole of the Muslim world as well.

The women in Pakistan however went through a historical path of rushed acceptance in the Parliament where rather than having gradual inclusion in the political state; they were directly represented in the state through reserved seats, with a background of religious sentiment and a patriarchal society. To look at this inclusion, one must first look at the most powerful factor common to Pakistani women, which is of the heritage of their religion. Hence, the government usually invokes religious injunctions to affect the status of women. They are never given equal responsibilities or rights.