There are considerable disparities between the status of men and women in Pakistan. In Global Gender Gap Report 2014, Pakistan is ranked at 141 among 142 countries of the world and the overall gender gap calculated is 44.78%. Pakistan occupies the last place in the regional ranking of gender gap. In order to reduce this gap, empower women and reduce poverty, the government of Pakistan has adopted various social, economic, legal and political strategies and policies. The reservation of 33% seats for women at union council (village level), tehsil council (sub-district level) and district council level under the new local government plan (devolution plan) in 2000 is one of the strategies adopted for empowerment of women. This created a critical mass of 39,964 women councilors in Pakistan. In order to assess the effectiveness and impact of women councilors for women’s empowerment, a study was conducted in two selected districts of Pakistan, i.e. Abbottabad (Kyber Pakhtunkhwa Province) and Attock (Punjab Province). Primary data were collected from 54 women councilors of both the districts. The result shows that participation of women councilors in local government remained good. Hence, the economic effect was quite surprising. However, no separate funds/schemes were initiated for women. Their influence over changing polices remained weak. The women councilors in the new local government system increased awareness and coordination among women. However, they were unable to reduce violence and awaken other women regarding their rights.

Author Biography

Iqtidar Ali Shah holds Ph.D. in Economics from University of Thessaly, Greece. He is working as a Head of Department, International Business Administration, College of Applied Sciences, Salalah, Ministry of Higher Education, Sultanate of Oman. His research interest includes Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Women Development, People’s Participation, Economics of NGO and Rural Development.

Arshad Aziz is Lecturer at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad. He received his Master degree in Information Technology and MS degree in Management Sciences from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad. His research interest includes Local Government, Devolution Plan, Community Empowerment, and Service Delivery.

M. Shakil Ahmad is working as Assistant Professor at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Attock. He did his Ph.D. from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. His research interest includes community empowerment, community leadership, sustainable development and good governance including social coherence.