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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

RAMSI Development Coordinator and Speaker of Parliament praises women

The RAMSI deputy development coordinator Stuart Schaefer told the participants, that the workshop is the centre piece of a study that RAMSI has commissioned to look at the barriers to women participation in government.He said the workshop would consider mechanisms to strengthen women participation in government.

Mr Schaefer said the study could lead to the development of a program of activities over the next four to five years to assist women to contest and win political office at all levels of government. "The women of Solomon Islands played an important part in trying to bring peace to Solomon Islands. And you yourself have played an important part in the government of this country by standing for election. Your experience is immensely important in understanding the barriers to the election of women, and in identifying the measures that may help to succeed in leadership", said Mr Schaefer.

In another speech while openning the three day workshop, Speaker of Parliament Sir Peter Kenilorea urges women to find ways to help Solomon Islands forward to remove the barriers that block women from effectively taking part in the most senior levels of government.

"As you talk about the issues and obstacles facing women, and ways that can be corrected, addressed, please bear in mind the urgency of it all. You need to be frank, but most importantly you must listen to each other and reach consensus and ways, we as a nation should move forward to dismantle the barriers blocking women to effectively participating in the most senior levels of government."

Speaking yesterday morning during the opening of the workshop which is reviewing how women fared in the last national elections, Sir Peter said he, like many leaders in the country are saddened that there are no women members of Parliament.

Sir Peter said may be Solomon Islands should look at a more direct and rapid resolution to this problem, through change in the Constitution combined with the change in the electoral system.

He said the introduction of a quota system would allocate seats for women in Parliament which would provide a guaranteed solution to the problem as early as 2010. But Sir Peter said it's not that simple and it needs political motivation to introduce such a reform and in Solomon Islands it means relying on attaining the support of the majority of members of Parliament all of whom are men.

Source: SIBC

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