A researcher from Papua New Guinea says women are learning to use culture to their advantage as a way of gaining political leadership.
Orovu Sepoe, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Papua New Guinea, has presented a study at the University of Auckland on gender, cultural imagery and women's involvement in politics.
The study discusses how cultural symbols can be used to create pathways into politics.
Orovu Sepoe says a critical issue in the Pacific is that women are not key-players in politics and often in the past culture has been used to stop them from achieving political leadership.
"women have found a new way of engaging with culture to say that it's not all that bad, in fact we can actually use culture to gain that understanding from men and from society as a whole that there's really a place for women in the decision making forums."
Orovu Sepoe says because culture is very much part of everyday life, it's better to work within it than to argue against it.