Pattan established the Women Councilors Network in 2002. The formation of this network is a unique experience in the political history of Pakistan. Pattan provided unwavering support to women councilors in their struggle towards combatting patriarchal mindsets and dealing with institutional resistance.
Pattan promoted the collective voice and will of these councilors and helped them formulate an independent power base. It has held the hands of women councilors and guided them in establishing a cross party women councilors network. It also facilitate their capacity building so the women councilors could be effective in their leadership roles.
WCN is a self sustaining network of women councilors today. It is a nation wide membership based and democratically elected network. It has effectively aggregated and articulated women’s interest in the local government. It has played a remarkable role in helping women at the local level and raising their concerns within and outside local government institutions.
The experience of WCN is a story of courage, commitment, and collective will. It is witness to the fact that institutional boundaries can be pushed to promote a gender sensitive agenda through the organization of women
Here are some of the key achievements of WCN:
- Through WCN, women councilors have been able to step up the ladder and access higher positions of power, from the union council to the tehsil or district assembly, to in some case, the parliament. They have been able to progress across different political structures and therefore increasing the overall number of women in leadership positions.
- Collectively advocated for pro women legislation like anti harassment laws, and laws to address gender based violence.
- Tireless advocacy for the restoration of local government.
- Assisting communities in accessing Bait ul Mal and Zakat committees, subsidized food, and social services
- Helping families collect finances for wedding and dowries
- Assisting children and young adults in access to education
- Connecting marginalized populations to different legal aid and himan rights organizations
- Facilitating the access of women to health through monitoring BHUs and mobilizing communities for effective service delivery
- Facilitating the carpeting of roads, brick lining of streets, building of schools and craft centers and acquiring sewing machines