18 Sep 2008

Pacific looks at new ways to get women into Parliament

5:26 pm on 18 September 2008

New ways to get more women into Pacific Island Parliaments, including affirmative action, are going to be considered at meetings around the region.

The first, being held in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, will draw together interested parties from Melanesian countries.

The Regional Director for the United Nation's Development Fund for Women, or Unifem, Elizabeth Cox, says the Pacific lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to female representation in parliament:

"The figures for this region are particularly bad, 2.5%, I think ,representation of women across parliaments across the Pacific. It hasn't increased for ten years. We have about half of the countries in the world that don't have any women parliamentarians here in our region."

The sub regional gathering is being organised by the Forum Secretariat, along with the SPC, AusAid and others.

Ms Cox says measures such as quotas for women in parliament or reserved seats will be discussed.

But she says it will be some time before any such measures would be introduced in the region.