As females edge their way into the intricacies of the political process in Pakistan, change is bound to instill and this talk on women in politics by activist Shad Begum explains what is happening on the local level in the South Asian country.
The speaker tells a tale of how she began to build women-centric communities with the blessing of her father. At these gatherings, the realities of the gender are brought up, the problems discussed and viable solutions offered. The overall underlining message was that "[they] must stand up for [their] own rights" to secure a better life both for themselves and their families. Motivated by this thought, Shad Begum founded her empowering organization in 1994 that sought out to liberate women from their silent struggle, induced from the restrictions inflicted by men.
The talk on women in politics goes on to reveal how Shad Begum entered public office as an independent candidate in Lower Dir. Despite the man-dominant environment, the speaker inserted herself in the decision-making process as best she could. Thanks to her efforts of securing water for the community and building connections with other same-sex candidates, Shad Begum was able to edge her way into the rigid environment and "women were allowed to sit together with all the members in the council" — something that was previously prohibited.
In her talk on women in politics, the activist speaks of some of the immense difficulties and dangers of her position — from the rise of the Taliban in Swat, Dir and nearby districts to the disproportionate influx of internally displaced persons from the same regions. With a belief that "women […] bring the realities and hopes of half a population," Begum began training 300 women and youth for the local elections in 2015, believing that an increase in representation would be able to resolve and soften these issues. Half of the trainees stepped into office which allowed for the women to take a more active part in "legislation, planning, and budgeting," as well as the opportunity for them to secure funds for "women’s health, education, skill development, and safe drinking water."
Although the battle is far from over, Shad Begum shares these victories in her talk on women in politics in order to signify the positive direction of the movement which is shaping the future in Pakistan.
The Women-Centric Shift in Pakistan
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Coming to Terms with Reality
Enabling True Gender Equality
Understanding Women's Anger
Women's Fury Holds Wisdom