9 Nov 2011

Political gender gap hampering Pacific development- World Bank

4:50 pm on 9 November 2011

A World Bank economist says women's lack of participation in politics is hampering development in the region.

The Pacific is one of the world's worst regions in terms of parliamentary representation for women, with at least six countries having no female representation, and most having representation of less than five percent.

The World Bank's Andy Mason says those figures are easy to quote, but they reflect a much deeper issue.

"There are significant economic and development costs associated to gender inequalities. And the more extreme the form of gender inequalities the higher the costs to development. So for example, there's an important role for the international community making this evidence very clear to domestic policy makers in the Pacific Islands."

Andy Mason says a starting point in many countries is to ensure that women have basic education and are economically empowered.