NCW supports 26 women in Solomons elections
26 women to contest Solomon Islands elections in November
The National Council of Women in Solomon Islands says it has helped prepare at least 26 women to run for office in the country's elections next month.
Solomon Islands has had only two female parliamentarians in the 36 years since gaining independence from Britain.
The council's president, Ella Kauhue, told Koroi Hawkins the women are fully aware of the odds against them but are hoping voters have had their fill of false promises.
ELLA KAUHUE: If we look at other candidates now, the female candidates, to contest this 2014 National Elections, I think they are well equipped. They know what they are doing and I think we are supporting them in that way by providing them with information and as well as advice on what to do when they go out, doing their campaigning. And as a result of that we have 26 women contesting this, National Elections for 2014.
KOROI HAWKINS: What's the change, is this new? That we have women that are equipped, that are confident, that are going to be contesting this election, is this new for Solomon Islands?
EK: Well you might call it that it's a new thing but also it's not new, I think its, its building the capacity of these women on the strengths that they already had in the country as mothers, as working women. I think what we are looking at here is something that equips them more than the rest. Because if you look at what is going on in the country now, I think leadership is a problem.
KH: In Solomon Islands there is a lot of vote buying, there is a lot of practices that are probably considered not so above board. How have you prepared your women intending candidates for these sort of issues that they will have to encounter during election campaign?
EK: I think what I would say is that women are aware of what is going on, they are aware of the resources and also lack of resources we are aware of that. At the same time we also, I mean the women also know that there are a lot of corrupt practices, you know, going on, especially during the election time. I think we just place our trust that people, the voters, people in the villages, people in the constituencies will come to see that to vote for someone is not to let people come and ask you to buy your vote or to give you incentives and that but to look for a person, a quality leader that will, that will represent them in Parliament.
KH: Often it's said that there are cultural barriers to women standing and even women dont vote for women when it comes to the elections. Has this perception, is this changing in Solomon Islands?
EK: I think Solomon Islands have gone past making an excuse that women must not contest because you know, their leadership is basically home based. Now I think the fact that we have our women contributing to the economy of this country just like their male counterparts, we have women, we cannot question women on, in terms of being academic and qualified, I think we have qualified women. We have wise women who can, who can also contest. So therefore we look at it like its a non-issue when it comes to culture. I think its about time that we look at the ability and the capability of women to be in, in parliament, you know, representing the country and their people.
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