4 Jun 2009

Cook Islands settle on affirmative action to get more women into Parliament

6:15 pm on 4 June 2009

The Cook Islands' two political parties will be urged to adopt affirmative action plans in order to raise the number of women MPs to 30 percent by 2014.

The resolution was one of the outcomes of a workshop last week aimed at developing a temporary special measure to encourage more women into politics.

Women hold three of the 24 seats in the Cook Islands parliament.

One of the workshop organisers, Ruth Pokura of the Internal Affairs Ministry, says affirmative action is a sensitive issue.

"There is still the thinking or the mindset that if we are to put a quota or reserve a seat then we are giving it easy to women and that they really want a woman to actually go through the whole process of it so there's still the misunderstanding of what the quota would do and that women still have to campaign, it's not wanting that they just walk straight in and have it on their plate or whatever."

Ruth Pokura of the Cook Islands Internal Affairs Ministry.