Islamabad: Women Parliamentarians met on Thursday at a strategic dialogue to promote the voice, visibility and agency of women community leaders and to call upon the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) forum to recognise and include their alliance formally.
This dialogue and advocacy meeting comes at a strategic point of time before the SAARC Summit planned for November this year in Islamabad.“We as parliamentarians call upon the Saarc Forum to take note of this unanimous demand for the establishment of the South Asia Women Alliance (SAWA). It is high time that we bring the voices, experience, aspirations, and potential of women community leaders from across the Saarc member states to this regional forum to inform and enrich it,” said MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik while addressing the dialogue.
She said that this forum connect micro voices with macro policies. “It is high time that we help build linkages amongst community women leaders nationally and also regionally.”The dialogue session was aimed at gaining from Women Parliamentarians’ vision for and recommendations to promote and recognize grassroots women’s leadership at local level decision-making. The session was attended by leading women parliamentarians from the mainstream political parties.
In conclusion to the substantive discussion, the Women Parliamentarians called upon the SAARC to formally recognize the South Asia Women Alliance of Community Leaders and focus efforts on the SD.
The discussion sought to document women parliamentarians’ rich experience of issues related to participation of women at community levels in policy-making, democratization processes and advancing their voice, visibility and agency in macro policies and regional policy-making mechanisms.
Taking the process forward, the outcomes of the discussion will feed into a SAARC member states’ civil society level initiative to develop an alliance of women community leaders at the SAARC level.
This initiative will be simultaneously advocating to ensure that the discussion recommendations are heard and taken note of at the forthcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad, this November.