30 Nov 2015

Solomons women push for reserved seats in parliament

11:24 am on 30 November 2015

Women's advocacy groups in Solomon Islands say they want to present a case for reserved seats for women in parliament to the country's MPs during next week's sitting.

The Solomons 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 the Pacific Regional Conference on Strengthening Women's Participation in Parliaments which was organised by UNDP in Port Moresby.

She says Solomon Islands is far behind many other Pacific Island countries when it comes to women's representation in parliament.

Ms Teakeni argues this is a strong case for having temporary special measures in place to help bridge the gap.

"We have planned to come back now after our meeting to have our first audience with our members of parliament. 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 know what type of TSM (Temporary Special Measure) we are talking about."

UNDP figures state that the Pacific Island legislatures have some of the world's lowest numbers of women among their elected representatives.

As of July 2015, women legislators across the Pacific accounted for just 5.4 per cent of all government members.

Women in Solomon Islands Malaita Province harvest Taro.

Solomons women rarely get elected to parliament Photo: RNZI Courtesy of SPC