24 Aug 2006

Pacific Island region among worst performing for women's political representation

7:41 pm on 24 August 2006

The many Pacific Island countries with few or no women members of parliament are being called on to consider fast-tracking measures to redress the imbalance.

This follows research by the University of the South Pacific which shows that with the exception of the French Pacific territories, where recent legislation has ensured nearly equal representation, the region is among the worst performing in the world in terms of women MPs.

Five Pacific Island countries, including Nauru, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau have no female MPs.

The gender adviser at the Forum Secretariat, Samantha Hung, says the region needs to consider ways to address this.

"We're talking about temporary special measures, which could be a whole host of affirmative action type measures so they could be quotas in terms of voluntary quotas within party lists or they could be actual reserved seats. What would be more suitable would depend on the type of electoral system that was in place."

Samantha Hung.