The stark difference between the quality of debates in the Senate and the National Assembly, not least on gender matters, draws an analogy with the presidential primaries in the US. In March, Marco Rubio attacked Donald Trump saying that his hands are small. “And you know what they say about the men with small hands,” he said. Trump, in reply, showed his hands to a crowd to prove that they are not small. “And he (Rubio) referred to my hands if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you,” Trump said. This episode was followed by a public hearing of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in which the former said she and Sanders must have differences but look at the “substance” of their and their rivals’ debates, referring to the “small hands” innuendo. Likewise, if we look at the substance of debates in the National Assembly and the Senate, we find a long-time MNA and minister, Khwaja Asif, hurling insults on a former university professor and newspaper editor, Dr Shireen Mazari, solely on the basis of gender. We see the custodian of the lower house, Ayaz Sadiq, letting the minister loose on MPs, like a bull in the china shop. On the contrary, the Senate in its sitting expressed shock on the trend of setting women on fire and called for amendments in the law so that perpetrators of crimes against women are punished duly. Farhatullah Babar, like some previous sessions, continued to raise voice against anti-woman lobby aka Council of Islamic Ideology, calling for disbanding it as it has completed its work. He also sought that the funds that this misogynists club mops up be diverted to the ministry for women. Emboldened by the submission of the state to them, a member of this club, Hamdullah who adds the adjective of Hafiz with his name, ran at a rights activist, Marvi Sarmad, in a TV show and resorted to vulgar language. PEMRA, sure, stays at a safe distance from clerics which sets off its prompt actions against some loosely edited entertainment programs, where presentation of women is dominant. It seems some state organs take women for a red rag. Media doesn’t lag behind in this race as many women politicians have reported in a research study on the record that they are not called to TV shows because of their looks or lack of family connections notwithstanding the substance of their arguments. Women owe their presence in parliament to former president Pervez General (r) Pervez Musharraf who gave them 33 per cent quota in seats. I remember the male supremacists used to mock women in the cabinet at his time. Then Asif Zardari became the president and he filled many important slots with women. Then Foreign Affairs Minister Hinna Rabbani Khar faced gender discrimination at home and abroad equally. She was dubbed “Pakistan’s soft face”, “bombshell” and “smoking hot” by Indian media when she visited New Delhi. If gender defines the substance and course of debates of MPs inside and outside parliament, then the day is not far when we would have many women’s seats vacant in the National Assembly, which have already effectively been as political parties use them as a bribe to strong political families.