Women in local politics: a global responsibility


Erum Saleem Khan is the first female candidate for the Greens in Pakistan, where there is much work to be done to protect gender equality and women’s rights. She’s determined not to be the last, and shares how you can help ensure that.

By Erum Saleem Khan

I joined the Greens because of the situation in Karachi, my home city. 

In Pakistan we face so much violence, especially women, and the Greens were the only party with peace as a core value.

Since I joined in 2017, I’ve been supported and encouraged by so many incredible women in Pakistan and across the world. My two mentors – in Australia and Belgium – kept pushing me, giving me the inspiration to keep growing and to make my voice heard.

Now, I am the first female candidate for my party. But I will not be the last!

I’m Erum Saleem Khan, and I’m running as a Green local government candidate in Pakistan this year.

A couple of years ago I would never have dreamed I’d be doing this. But the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation’s mentorship program gave me the confidence to speak up for my community.

One of the most powerful things about the Greens is that we’re a global movement. This is why the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) exists. It links all of the Greens in this region. 

Did you know there are more than 20 Green parties in our region? And they’re full of people like you and me who want to make a difference. APGF brings us together, to grow our strength and our courage to demand change.

I never thought I would go into politics, yet I was given a chance. We need more women in politics and APGF’s networking and mentoring programs give us the skills and strength to take our place as leaders. 

Pakistani women face many challenges. At the start, I was very shy and thought that I didn’t know anything. But since I’ve been a part of APGF’s mentoring program, I have found my voice and my confidence. 

I will not stop here, either. I want to stand in the national elections. My aim is to become a parliamentarian.

Because if you do not like politics, then you must change it. You can change your society. And now I have that chance, I also have this responsibility. I have a platform – I must use it.

Through this Federation we can share our voices around the world. What happens in one country can raise awareness in other countries as well. I never realised that women around the world – including in developed countries – face the same issues of patriarchy that we do!

Now I know, I’m both inspired and empowered by the global network of women APGF has brought together to fight it. We are united – and together we can find strength across our region.

Yet we rely on support from our Green friends to make sure that more women across Asia and the Pacific have their voices heard, and we can use all the help we can get. Your donation to APGF will go such a long way – I really can't overstate the impact you can have on women around the world.

Thank you in hope for your support for Green women across the Asia and Pacific region.


Erum Saleem Khan is the co-chairperson of the Pakistan Green Party.

« Back