Solomons women push for reserve seats in parliament
Women's advocacy groups in Solomon Islands say they want to present a case for reserve seats for women in parliament to the country's MPs during next weeks sitting.
Women's advocacy groups in Solomon Islands say they want to present a case for reserve seats for women in parliament to the country's MPs during the sitting later this week.
Solomon Islands has one of the poorest representations of women in parliament with only one female MP in its 50-member house.
Josephine Teakeni, the director of Vois Bilong Mere Solomon has just returned from this week's Pacific Regional Conference on Strengthening Women's Participation in Parliaments which was organised by UNDP in Port Moresby.
She says Solomon Islands is a long way behind many other Pacific Island countries when it comes to women's representation in parliament.
Ms Teakeni told Koroi Hawkins she believes this is a strong case for having temporary special measures in place to help bridge the gap but says so far the lack of political will and chronic instability in the country have hampered progress.
JOSEPHINE TEAKENI: There is a lot of things to be done because you have to do amendments or review the electoral acts these legislatures these things have to be in place and of course we need political will and we also need political stability to make these things work and so when the environment is not conducive it makes the work a bit difficult and of course there needs to be a lot of awareness amongst all stake holders including the communities the people who will be making the votes and decisions on things they need to know as well as those who will be agreeing to those types of legislature especially members of parliament. So that they will understand and be able to facilitate and make the process go through for us.
KOROI HAWKINS: And you mentioned other countries and seeing examples from different parts of the Pacific. From your observation and analysis how well represented are women in Parliament around the region?
JT: Well the barriers exist around the region and from the meeting that I attended we in the Solomon Islands we are very far behind. Each country has their own way of how they are trying to get their women to participate, there women's representation through the systems that they have. And for us Solomon Islands we do not have one as of yet. At the moment we are using the first past the post which makes it very difficult for women to get through. So we have planned to come back now after our meeting to have our first audience with our members of parliament to do an awareness just to report what the meetings we have attended and what we have heard. It is just an awareness kind of thing about the meeting that we have heard. And I think it is an activity that would help them to understand a bit more so that when the time comes for debate in parliament or in cabinet or what they would now what type of TSM we are talking about.
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