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Pacific way behind

Dawn Gibson
Wednesday, July 02, 2014

THE Pacific region needs to catch up in terms of placing more women in Parliament.

This was one of the many sentiments relayed to The Fiji Times yesterday by renowned former Papua New Guinea politician Dame Carol Kidu, who was a speaker at a pre-election women's workshop in Suva.

"It's really important to get women into politics I believe and it's difficult in the Pacific. It's difficult and history shows it's difficult — if you trace the figures of all the nations, we're the worst region globally — we're worse than, say, the Arab states in terms of our female representation and their voice in Parliament," Dame Carol explained.

"What is also concerning is that over the last two decades — it has been some 20 years now — it hasn't improved, whereas in most countries there has been some improvement in terms of getting some women in Parliament, but no improvement."

She said having cited this, that there was certainly an issue which needed to be addressed and that leaders' meetings were one of the many avenues to table such concerns.

"There is acknowledgement from our leaders in the Pacific, which is good, because without these affirmative actions, it's going to be very difficult.

"It has been shown in research in other countries — and I don't see why the Pacific would be any different — that actually when you get more women in Parliament, you get a greater attention to a broader spectrum of issues."

Dame Carol was a presenter at a week-long pre-election workshop hosted by the Fiji Women's Forum at the Holiday Inn.

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