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Ali calls for temporary TSMs

Dawn Gibson
Saturday, May 17, 2014

WITH women often seen as being politically underrepresented — traditionally, politicians and independent candidates are requested to consider the implementation of TSMs or temporary special measures in their run for election.

In response to questions from this newspaper, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre executive director Shamima Ali said Fiji, as a signatory to the CEDAW (Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), was committed to protecting such participations.

"Women are grossly underrepresented in politics in Fiji. While some women have been able to achieve high office in political parties, this is arguably because of their personal power (chiefly rank or inherited status/wealth, status by marriage) rather than because of any concerted efforts by political parties to promote women across the rank and file," Ms Ali said.

"Temporary special measures are recognised by CEDAW as necessary to promote the effective participation of women in public life."

She explained that while TSMs seemed to serve as a form of discrimination against a group of people, there was justification in its use.

"While reserved seats for any group, whether based on gender, race or other characteristic is discriminatory, the reservation of seats for women is a form of positive discrimination, which is absolutely necessary to redress decades and centuries of institutionalised discrimination against women.

"Fiji's Constitution needs to recognise the historical and institutionalised discrimination and injustice perpetuated against women in Fiji, and allow reserved seats for women in parliament."

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