18 Jul 2014

Pacific women politicians meeting hailed a success

3:40 pm on 18 July 2014

The Australian ambassador for women and girls says a meeting of Pacific women politicians to discuss ways they can overcome barriers to leadership has been a success.

The meeting, funded by the Australian government, is being held in Tonga and has brought together 30 women leaders from around the region.

Natasha Stott-Despoja says obstacles to participation raised include access to funding for campaigns, the perception that politics is men's work, and the logistics of balancing family and public life.

She says the women are discussing what has worked in their countries, and what has not.

"Tonga for example, and Kiribati, have implemented mock parliaments which are just for women to study politics and parliamentary procedure, or it may be that there are mentoring and education and training opportunities that are seen in other countries where women are supporting each other or the UN for example is assisting."

Natasha Stott-Despoja says one of the best strategies to overcoming low participation rates is women supporting other women.