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Changing the Narrative of Power

11:57 AM | 13 May, 2024
Changing the Narrative of Power

By Senator Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur

What a fantastic few days I had to attend the Women Political Leaders Summit 2024 in Athens, Greece, in the cradle of democracy. The summit brought 250 women leaders from 57 countries across the globe, as well as past and present presidents, senators, and members, to discuss, network, and develop strategies for democracy in the 21st century. 2024 is a year when more than half the world goes to elections to choose their leaders who will drive this planet and its inhabitants into the future. 

It was a fascinating three days, from being hosted at the presidential palace in Athens by none other than Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the President herself, to the award ceremony at the Acropolis museum in its grandeur and history, culminating in the final day at the Parliament of Greece, the Hellenic Parliament. The trip to the Acropolis Museum, a Unesco world heritage site, was spectacular and the highlight of the visit.

Pakistan delegation with the President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou, MNA Musarat Asif.

The event was attended by the honourable President of Ethiopia, Sahle-work Zewde, who gave her perspectives as the keynote. The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammad; the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen (2000 to 2012); the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson (1990 to 1997); President of Estonia, Kirsti Kaljulaid (2016 to 2021) spoke to encourage women to stand tall and take the place they rightfully deserve. The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Theodorous Rousopoullous, also spoke to support the initiative for gender balance as the European Union represents 27 countries peacefully legislating through negotiations and consensus, showing the way for democracy to shine. Positive, proactive and powerful women and men, showing the way for the next generation of trailblazers, thinkers and doers.

Both days were packed full of panel discussions & policy dialogues on pressing issues like Artificial intelligence and its impact on Parliamentary democracy, Citizen expectations & lack of trust in governments, the role of political parties in promoting democracy, violence against women in politics, bringing women to vote & enter the political space, African voices & European concerns all had their space. Various forms of violence against women, including hate speech, sexual harassment and other forms of coercion, were discussed. The role of online violence in discouraging women from joining politics resulted in women candidates shying away from contesting elections and many parliamentarians leaving the political space due to the threat of harsh daily attacks. Europe’s role in bringing women to the centre stage of politics was appreciated. At the same time, there was pressure on institutions and governments to include women in parity on all boards and institutions. The European Union’s soft power was seen as leading on many fronts. The policy dialogue focuses on how the World Bank and IMF have developed strategies to elevate human capital for gender equality from 2024 to 2030. Both institutions have new strategies for gender mainstreaming, engaging women as leaders, increasing women's labour force participation, and reducing gender pay gaps. The emphasis on macroeconomic policies promoting women's productivity was highlighted. It was a huge honour for me to speak on the panel titled “Democracy Reloaded; Fulfilling Citizen Expectations and Building Trust “ with Liz Perkins, an award-winning journalist from Wales, UK, Dame Eleanor Laing, Deputy speaker house of Commons UK, Lindiwe Dlamini president of the Senate of Eswatini, Cristina Gallach of Spain, and MP Glo Labadlabad of Philippines. 

What do women bring to the table? An attitude of dialogue, compassion, and a can-do approach in a world overtaken by ego, aggression & destruction.  A different point of view (POV) is what we need for the intractable problems plaguing our planet. The approach of hitting all issues with a hammer has delivered a world facing climate change, poverty, hunger, inequality and injustice; remember, this is the 21st century with the information revolution, artificial intelligence, biological materials, space travel and aliens all put together.

There is a considerable need to view the landscape fresh, focusing on making the world more equitable, just, humanitarian, and empathic.

Globally, women make up 49 to 50 of all populations. Still, representation in political forums varies between 10 and 25 per cent, while men, who are also 50 per cent demographically, are given 75 to 90 per cent representation and 100 per cent access to power. Politics is traditionally considered a male domain, with women not fit to sit at the table as severe or mature thinkers. With this background of reality, it was interesting to hear phrases like 

“#We need to change the nature of power, not let power change us.”

#More women to power & more power to women.

#Women in power is in the interest of men, power sharing is not power loss.

#Men are allies, not enemies. 

#Representative democracy, not just democracy. 

#Long view leadership and accountability. 

#The influence of men as role models & solution-seekers in gender-based violence. 

#Room of power versus corridors of power. 

#A woman's place is in the Parliament. 

#We need to lower the ladder, broaden it, and not pull it up. 

Christine Gallach of #Globalwomenleadersvoices pointed out that the United Nations has had nine Secretary Generals since its inception in 1945 but no women. The UN has 54 bodies across its arms, yet only 13% have been led by women in the past 78 years.

The General Assembly of the United Nations elects a new president every year, but of the 78 presidents since 1945, only four have been women. All these bodies work on the concept of geographic rotation but now need to work on gender rotation. 

Pakistan has a better track record than many, with Benazir Bhutto twice as Prime Minister, Fehmida Mirza as the first speaker, and Maryam Nawaz Nawaz as the first woman Chief Minister.

From now on, a lot can be done regarding parity in power sharing, gender balancing in institutions, and bringing women from all socioeconomic and marginalised groups to positions of influence. 

We look forward to the day we can hold such a summit here with open dialogue, positivity and the hope for a better tomorrow.

The author is a senator & can be reached at Zarqataimur@gmail.com

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Pakistani Rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 28 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro stands at 298 for buying and 301 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal increased to 73.45.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.25
Euro EUR 298 301
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.25 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.03 748.03
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.42 38.82
Danish Krone DKK 40.44 40.84
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.62 35.97
Indian Rupee INR 3.35 3.46
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 904.07 913.07
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.05 59.65
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.03 172.03
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.64 731.64
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 304.75 307.25
Thai Bhat THB 7.6 7.75

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