Manisa, 12 May 2022 (TDI): The Manisa Celal Bayar University, Turkey is hosting an International Women’s Studies Symposium for two days, 12-13 May. Today was the first day with multiple online and face-to-face sessions.

The symposium started with the first online session with an opening speech from Zubeda Anjum Niazi, an international relations researcher and the Managing Editor of The Diplomatic Insight.

Women In International Relations

Niazi briefed the audience on a paper titled “Women In International Relations- A Perspective from Pakistan” that she has co-authored with her colleagues, Farhat Asif, the President of the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS) and The Diplomatic Insight (TDI), and Aiman Iqbal, the Associate Editor at The Diplomatic Insight.

She started her speech by highlighting the significance of women’s participation in leadership and governance and their struggle for equal rights.

She explained that women’s political participation is fundamental for gender equality and genuine democracy. It facilitates women’s direct engagement in public decision-making and ensures better accountability to women.

She also brought the attention of her audience to the slow progress of women’s participation and influence in political processes and leadership and that this underrepresentation is an enduring dilemma.

Further talking about the women in leadership and politics in South Asia, Niazi highlighted the role that the cultural patriarchy and male dominance play in undermining the participation of women.

She shared some interesting and diverse narratives on the subject that she came across during the research.

Briefing the audience on the paper, Niazi discussed how the revolutionary changes in international relations in the 21st century have impacted the inclusion of women in political and decision-making processes.

The Perspective from Pakistan

Sharing the Pakistani perspective, she shared how the country is still far from having an inclusive foreign policy and relies on traditional foreign policy-making frameworks to solve the challenges.

She also discussed the important role that Pakistan has played in women’s empowerment in leadership by producing the “first” women in leadership with names like Benazir Bhutto, Begum Rana Liaquat, Hina Rabbani Khar, Maleeha Lodhi, and Nigar Johar.

She finally shared that her paper addresses these challenges that women in Pakistan have to face, in political leadership in general and international relations in particular.

It makes recommendations in an attempt to add to the literature on the discourse from a Pakistani narrative. Niazi’s speech was followed by a few more speeches before the conclusion of the session.