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Beyond Victims #2023 - Political Empowerment

Our second edition of the 2023 Beyond Victims Series brings you stories of inspiring women political leaders from South Asia who have been leading efforts on political empowerment.

Stories of Naheed Farid, Shukria Barakzai, Dr Nafisa Shah, Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe, Binda Pandey, Late Syeda Sajeda Chowdhary and Rozaina Adam covered in this edition have been contributed by volunteers Vasundhra, Ishani, Tapasya and Nirmalya.

Naheed Farid

Former Member of Parliament and Former Chairperson of Parliament’s Women’s Affairs Commission, Afghanistan

Naheed, a prominent Afghan politician and women rights activist is known for her dedication towards raising human rights issues, inspiring many. A law graduate, she has founded and run NGOs for marginalised communities, children and women. In the background of Taliban’s orthodox and restricting politics, she aims to improve educational and health conditions for Afghans, especially women in the region. Her advocacy led to a broader national conversation about the importance of gender equality and women's participation in various spheres of life. She has been dedicated to engaging Afghan youth and women in the political process.

World Forum for Ethics in Business

Shukria Barakzai

Ambassador of Afghanistan to Norway - Former Member of the National Assembly of Afghanistan

Shukria Barakzai, is an Afghan Parliamentarian and an advocate of women’s rights. After being attacked by the Taliban, she took up the journey to establish secret schools for girls and create a better future for the women of the country. She founded "Aina-E-Zan" or "Women's Mirror," a national weekly newspaper that informs Afghan women about healthcare, education, and societal progress. She is an advocate for ending child marriages, forced marriages, and domestic violence against women.

Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention

Dr Nafisa Shah

Former member of National Assembly in Pakistan

Dr Nafisa has championed the cause of women’s empowerment, be it by driving rights-based legislation as the secretary of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus or through her exemplary work to prevent honour violence in Pakistan. She has harped the importance of increasing women’s political representation on general seats, introducing bills for legal reform during her tenure, as critical for women's equality.

The Tribune, March 2016

Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe

Former Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of Nepal

Tumbahamphe has advocated for increasing government expenditure on public education. Politically active for 40 years, this communist leader fiercely advocates for the institutionalisation of inclusion and representation, lobbying for the proper implementation of the state law mandating one-third of seats for women at all levels of the State and in political parties.

Binda Pandey

Former member of the House of Representatives of Nepal

Binda is a champion for gender and social justice. A feminist communist, she has openly spoken up against the dominance of men in political representation. Demanding women’s empowerment, she has advocated for 50% representation of women in the National Assembly, drafted demands including feminist proposals for citizenship through mother’s name, strict laws and punishment for violence against women and establishment of family courts to oversee such cases, challenging the fundamentals of Nepalese patriarchy.

– Nepali Times, April 2021

Late Mrs Syeda Sajeda Chowdhary

Syeda Sajeda was the founding General Secretary of the Mohila Awami League in 1969 and held the position till 1975. As a frontline leader and policymaker, she contributed to rural development and education, serving as Deputy Leader of the House. Alongside, she also did social work and contributed to the development of sports, cultural and religious institutions.

Rozaina Adam

Member of Parliament of Maldives

Rozaina is among the few women MPs from the Maldivian Democratic Party and has been an active advocate for women's rights and equal opportunities in the political sphere. She is the Chair and Convenor of the Democratic Renewal and Human Rights Campaign (PARRT). She raises awareness about women's participation in elections. She firmly supports the women in leadership positions, particularly in parliament, to ensure their meaningful engagement in the decision-making process. She emphasises on empowering women to have a more prominent role in shaping the political landscape of the Maldives.

Women Political Leaders, August 2019

Project Management: Vatsla Srivastava

Contributors: Vasundhra, Ishani, Tapasya and Nirmalya

Edited by: Sugandha

Design: Ragini Puri

Template: Vida Seraphina (

Thank you for reading Beyond Victims!

This year’s Beyond Victims series will span eight editions, covering stories of inspiring women’s political leadership across South Asia. Get them in your inbox by joining our mailing list.

Women for Politics is an initiative of Centre for Gender And Politics (CGAP).

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