Resources for Teachers and Students on Benazir Bhutto

Prepare: In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the prime minister of Pakistan, making her the first woman head of government of an Islamic state in modern times. She is currently the chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party, PPP. Her official biography can be found on the PPP website.

Read: Benazir Bhutto wrote an original essay for the Architects of Peace project. In it, she discusses the unique contribution women leaders can contribute to the peacemaking process.

Explore: Benazir Bhutto has been one of the most controversial politicians of modern times, and yet remains enormously popular in Pakistan, from which, as of this writing, she is still self-exiled and faces charges of corruption by the military government currently in power. Despite the controversies, which may never be resolved, her accomplishments as a woman in a Moslem society are remarkable. As part of its "Women in Power" series, the BBC website has an interactive essay on her accomplishments.

Write: In her Architects of Peace essay, Benazir Bhutto claims that, for her, peace has been a process of "resolving a struggle between the sexes." How much is gender a dynamic of conflict resolution? Is there an inherent difference in how men and women might go about peacemaking? Are there socially constructed assumptions about masculinity and femininity that either enhance or obstruct peacemaking?Can the resolution of struggle between the sexes become a paradigm for resolving struggles between nations? Write a three-to-five page reflective essay on these questions and conclude by proposing a possible hypothesis for further research.

Extend: A core element of the PPP manifesto is that people have a right to be free of hunger and want. Pakistan's population, however, grows at a 2.6% annual rate, which means that it doubles every 36 years, having grown from 32 million in 1947 to 132 million in 1997. It could easily reach 260 million by 2035. The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, currently involved in a special partnership with Pakistan, feels that a crucial element of stabilizing the population is to address the "gender imbalance" in such areas as the literacy rate of women.


Biography of Benazir Bhutto

Reflections on Working Towards Peace