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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Publication on barriers to women's representation in Parliament to be launched in Suva

From the Forum Secretariat

A publication, “A Women’s Place is in the House: The House of Parliament”, containing research reports on barriers to women’s parliamentary election in Pacific Island Countries will be launched by the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji this Thursday 19th October.

“There is a real need for a more coordinated and strategic approach to address the gross under-representation of women in all parliaments in Forum Island Countries. That is why the Pacific Plan includes a specific initiative to develop a strategy for participative democracy and electoral process with emphasis on women, youth, non-state actors and people with disability,” Greg Urwin, Secretary General of the Forum says.

“This set of research reports provides a comprehensive analysis of both social and electoral barriers to women’s parliamentary representation, which we hope will assist member countries and the region to progress notions of participative democracy,” Mr Urwin says.

He says the issue of under representation of women in Parliaments in FIC’s is not just a matter of human rights.

“Increased balance between the sexes in decision-making goes hand in hand with good governance as it ensures attention to issues that may otherwise be overlooked. Increased gender equality in decision making lends to better development decisions.”

“Despite commitments at both the regional and international level, the Pacific as a region fares the worst in the world in terms of women’s representation and participation in parliaments.”

The draft research findings were presented and discussed at the Pacific Regional Workshop on Advancing Women’s Representation in Parliaments in Cook Islands early this year organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the UNDP Pacific Sub Regional Centre (UNDP PSRC), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and UNIFEM Pacific.

The research reports were written by Elise Huffer, Jon Fraenkel, Fakavae Taomia, Susie Saitaka Kofe, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki and Alamanda Lauti.

Complimentary copies of A Women’s Place is in the House: The House of Parliament will be distributed to key stakeholders and development partners. Additional copies can be ordered from the Forum Secretariat for FJD 25 and will be made available on line in due course.

Press release forwarded to TARD by Betty Fakarii

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