Elections 2024: Educated Women in a Village Barred From Voting by Husbands

Men claim restrictions meant to ‘protect’ women from political hostilities; ECP can void polls in areas where women are prevented from exercising voting

Elections in Pakistan: Perched on her traditional charpai bed (in the village of Dhurnal in Punjab), Naeem Kausir says she would like to vote in Pakistan’s upcoming election — if only the men in her family would let her. Like all the women in her town, the 60-year-old former headmistress and her seven daughters — six already university-educated — are forbidden from voting by their male elders. “Whether by her husband, father, son or brother, a woman is forced. She lacks the autonomy to make decisions independently,” said Kausir, covered in a veil in the courtyard of her home. “These men lack the courage to grant women their rights,” the widow told AFP.

Although voting is a constitutional right for all adults in Pakistan, some rural areas in the socially conservative country are still ruled by a patriarchal system of male village elders who wield significant influence in their communities… “Several years ago, during a period of low literacy rates, a council chairman decreed that if men went out to vote, and women followed suit, who would manage the household and childcare responsibilities?” said Malik Muhammad, a member of the village council. “This disruption, just for one vote, was deemed unnecessary,” he concluded. More here.