20 Aug 2009

Vanuatu Women's Centre cautious over MPs' support for female President

6:20 pm on 20 August 2009

The co-ordinator of Vanuatu's Women's Centre, Merilyn Tahi, has sounded a note of caution about MPs publicly backing a possible female Head of State.

This comes as the Electoral College made up of the 52 members of parliament and the heads of the six provincial governments prepare to elect the new President on September the 1st.

Elements of the government coalition are reportedly keen to support a female candidate for the first time and the opposition leader has voiced his support for the idea.

But Merilyn Tahi says MPs often say such things without an intention of seeing them through.

She feels the traditional male dominance of leadership in Vanuatu leaves little room for a woman President

"Don't believe them until the name is out. But I haven't heard of any women yet. If a woman is put up there, then of course she has the right to (be President) and she's eligible and if she has the capacity, well and good. There's some women who could do that if there's some people behind them that support them and provide the opportunity."

Merilyn Tahi