World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Pacific: Strategies for Increasing Women in Decision-Making

Strategies for Increasing Women in Decision-Making in the Pacific

Nadi- July 22, 2011 - Strategic partnerships, targeted communications, enabling legislation and training women for leadership roles were highlighted as some of the crucial ingredients in increasing the number of women in decision-making in the Pacific.

These points were raised by four women who spoke at a panel discussion on “Supporting Pacific Women in Public Life and Decision-Making” that took place yesterday at the 4th Pacific Women's Ministerial Meeting.

The speakers included: Ethel Sigimanu from the Solomon Islands; Hon Dame Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea's Minister for Community Development and Women’s Affairs; Léna Temauri from French Polynesia, and United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Kim Henderson.

Strategic Partnerships
Ethel Sigimanu, the Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs spoke about her country’s experience in trying to get legislation on Temporary Special Measures to increase the number of women in Parliament.

Temporary Special Measures (TSM) or affirmative action policies like quotas are specifically permitted under Article 4 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a short-term measure to “kickstart” an increase in women’s representation, while longer-term efforts are being made to create a more equal and sustainable level playing field for women in politics.

Ms Sigimanu said that in 33 years of government in Solomon Islands, there had only been one female parliamentarian. In 2009, the Women’s Ministry started a campaign for TSM to introduce reserved seats for women through legislative change. She said that the “TSM submission could not be taken to Cabinet because the voices against it were stronger than the voices for it.”
“We have learnt a few lessons in this process. We realise that we should have reached a critical mass of people in the community that understood and supported TSM. Buy-in from parliamentarians is critical as is the need for male champions,” said Ms Sigimanu.

Creating Space
Hon Dame Carol Kidu, Papua New Guinea's Minister for Community Development and Women’s Affairs said that, “The political environment in Melanesia (except in the French Territories) does not give equal opportunities for women to win seats in Parliament.”

She said that cultural perceptions needed to be addressed and a targeted communications strategy supported this process.

“Women in parliament is about partnership in development, it is not about women being stronger than men. It is not about taking men’s places. Temporary special measures are about creating some space for women,” she said.

Support for Women Leaders
Léna Temauri, Advisor to the Minister of Culture, Arts, Family and Women’s Affairs of French Polynesia spoke about how the French Parity Law increased the number of women in local and national government.

“While this law has increased the number of women in decision making roles, work still remains to be done particularly in the areas of training women for leadership roles and changing the public’s opinion about women in decision making, ” she said.

Lessons from the Rest of the World
Kim Henderson, the Gender Team Leader for UNDP in the Asia Pacific Region shared examples of how the numbers of women in decision making could be increased.

“In 2010, forty five percent of the countries globally had some form of temporary special measures to increase the number of women in Parliament. These countries have almost double the amount of women in parliament than countries without them,” said Ms Henderson.

She said that the type of Temporary Special Measures most suited to a country depended on its electoral system.

“Another entry point for increasing the number of women in decision making roles is through local governments. There are a greater number of seats available and higher chances of winning them,” she said.

The Pacific region has the lowest percentage of women parliamentarians in the world and includes four of the six countries in the world with no women legislators: Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

“In 2010, five Parliamentary chambers renewed with no women members and 4 of these 5 are in the Pacific - Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu,” said Ms Henderson.

The discussion was organized by UNDP in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The Pacific Women's Ministerial Meeting, during which the discussion took place is organized by SPC. It brings together ministers, government officials, civil society and development partners working in the area of gender from 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news