Gender Quotas Database

See data for special areas Taiwan and Kosovo



Southern Asia

Pakistan has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and upper house and at the sub-national level. 50 of 309 (16%) seats in the Majlis-E-Shoora/National Assembly are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of parliament Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas

For the Single / Lower house? Yes
For the Upper house? Yes
For the Sub-national level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas?

Adopted by political parties? No
Is there additional information? Yes

Single / Lower House

Majlis-E-Shoora/National Assembly

Upper House


Quota at the Sub-National Level

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional information

Pakistan is a federation with local, provincial and national tiers of government. Constitutions from 1956 until 1985 all provided for some reserved seats for women at the national and sub-national levels. In the 1956 Constitution, a minimum of 3 per cent of seats were reserved for women at all levels of government, including national and provincial assemblies, the Senate and local councils. The constitutions which followed, in 1962 and 1973, reserved seats for women—2.75 per cent in the National Assembly and 5 per cent in each of the provincial assemblies—and were implemented through indirect elections. In 1985, reserved seats for women in the National Assembly were increased to 10 per cent for a ten-year period or three general elections, whichever came first (Rai 2005: 175). This provision expired in 1988, and for elections held in the 1990s the number of women in parliament did not increase beyond 4 per cent (Reyes 2003: 42).

The national consultations in the Ministry of Women and Development, the National Campaign for Restoration of Women’s Reserved Seats, the Report of the Commission of Inquiry for Women, and the National Plan for Action all argued for new reservations during the late 1990s and early 2000s, thus providing for the 30 per cent quota of reserved seats. At the time, 11 political parties endorsed this initiative.

The current system of reservation of seats for the parliament and provincial assemblies came into force in 2002. The Devolution of Power Plan (DPP) in 2000, introduced under the military government of General Pervez Musharraf, established a uniform system of local government bodies in all four provinces of the country. The DPP, with the adoption of the Local Government Ordinance Act of 2001, guaranteed a 33 per cent quota for women at all three levels of local councils: the district (zila), sub-district (tehsil) and union councils at the village level. Under this system, according to one account, 42,049 women came into local government (Rai 2005: 175).

This system of local government was operational until 2009, and since the election of the new civilian government in 2008, the next phase of decentralization and local government development is under consideration. Local government elections which were initially planned to take place in 2009 have been postponed. In anticipation of the next local government elections at the end of 2013, the provinces of Sindh and Punjab have adopted new Local Government Acts in 2013, showing a decrease in the number of reserved seats, as compared to the 2001 Act.



  • Constitution of Pakistan (amended through 2019) - Link
  • Election Laws - Link
  • The Representation of the People Act (amended through 2017) - Link
  • Local Government Election Laws - Link


  • Parliament of Pakistan - National Assembly/ Senate
  • Electoral Commission - Link
  • Women's rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, which time has destroyed 2022 - Link
  • Senate of Pakistan, ‘List of Women Senators’
  • International IDEA, Political Parties in South Asia: The Challenge of Change, South Asia Regional Report (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2008); 
  • Rai, S. M., ‘Reserved Seats in South Asia: A Regional Perspective’, in J. Ballington and A. Kazam (eds),Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers. A Revised Edition (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2005);
  • Reyes, S. L., ‘Quotas in Pakistan: A Case Study’, in The Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences,Quota Report Series no. 1 (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2003)

Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Pakistan on iKNOW Politics
  • Global Village Space, 2018. "Is Pakistan's Gender Quota in Parliament Showing Results?", Published 4 July 2018, Accessed 26 September.
  • Pattan Development Organisation. 2004. Voices of Women Councilors, Islamabad: Pattan Development Organisation.
  • Graff, I. Women’s Representation in Pakistani Politics – the Quota Systems under the Musharraf Regime, paper presented at the International Conference on Women and Politics in Asia, Halmstad, June 2003.
  • Reyes, S. L. 2003. Quotas in Pakistan: A Case Study, in International IDEA The Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences. Quota Workshop Report Series no. 1, Stockholm: International IDEA, pp. 42-47.
  • Ali, R. 2002. A Distant Dream. Weekly Independent. September 26.
  • Bari, F. 2002. Women's Representation in Legislatures.The Way Forward. Islamabad: Ministry of Women and Develoment.
  • Reyes, S. L. 2002. Quotas in Pakistan: A Case Study. Paper presented at IDEA Regional Workshop on the Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences. Jakarta, Indonesia, September 2002.
  • Bari, S. & Khan, B.H. 2001. Local Government Elections 2001. Phase III, IV & V, Islamabad: Pattan Development Organization.
  • Ali, S. 2000. ‘Law, Islam and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan’, in S.M. Rai (ed.) International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 41–63.
  • Sardar, A. S. 2000. Law, Islam and the Women's Movement in Pakistan. Shirin M. Rai (ed.). International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 41-63.
  • Afzal, N. 1999. Women and Parliament in Pakistan. 1947-1977. Lahore: Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab.
  • Farida, S., Zia, A. & Warraich, S. 1998. Women in Politics: Participation and Representation in Pakistan with update 1993-1997. Lahore: Shirkat Gah.
  • Shirkat Gah Women's Resource Centre. 1998. Shaping Women's Lives: Laws, Practices, & Strategies in Pakistan. Report.
  • Suhrawardy, I. S. 1998. From Purdah to Parliament. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  • Report of The Commission of Inquiry for Women: Pakistan. 1997. Islamabad: Stationery, Farms, and Publications Depot.
  • Sarwar, B. 1997. Pakistan: Feuding Politicians Keep Women Out of Parliament. Interpress Service, June 13.
  • Yadav, R. 1997. More Than Just a Token. News India, May 15.
  • Nazrul, I. M. 1990. Pakistan: A Study in National Integration. Lahore: Vanguard Books.
  • Khawar, M. & Shaheed, F. 1987. Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? Lahore: Vanguard Books.
  • Pakistan Election Commission,
  • Pakistan Parliament website,

Explore more resources: Asia | Global

Know about useful additional reading for Pakistan? Tell us!

Submit feedback

Submit questions or comments about the Data or Tool

How did you find out about this? What do you like about it? What did you expect but did not find in using the Data or Tool?

To see how we handle your personal data, please read our Privacy Policy.

Close tooltip