At least in theory in the Pacific today, there are no formal obstacles to equal participation in national political and parliamentary processes. However, due to historical and ongoing social, cultural and economic barriers, in practice, there is still a noticeable imbalance in the representation of women and men in Pacific legislatures and sub-national decision-making bodies.
In recognition of this ongoing challenge, the Pacific Plan specifically prioritises the need to improve gender equality. Initiative 12.6 calls on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to assist with the development of strategies to support participative democracy and consultative decision-making and electoral processes, while Initiative 12.5 calls for support for the implementation of human rights treaties, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which itself supports temporary special measures. The Revised Pacific Platform for Action for Women 2005-2015 also recommends that governments “take affirmative action in policies and practices that enhance gender parity in political representation”.
Across the region, many local and regional partners are working hard to ensure that women’s voices are increasingly heard in Pacific decision-making forums. A range of different activities are being pursued, but feedback from partners suggests that information-sharing across the region and between partners could still be strengthened. This website seeks to fill this gap.
The website has initially been designed as a knowledge-sharing portal to collect together information on activities, news, research and stakeholders working to promote women in politics in the Pacific region. It is a pilot website, initiated by UNDP, in support of the work of all organisations throughout the Pacific. However, over time, UNDP hopes to pilot options through the website for providing more support to women candidates at national and sub-national, both in terms of campaigning training, as well as campaign fund-raising. In respect of the latter, UNDP and partners are currently exploring options for develop the website into an online fund-raising resource, along the lines of successful sites in other countries, such as EMILY’s List US and EMILY’s List Australia. This work is currently in its initial scoping stage.
This website is designed to support partners, and all feedback on improving its functionality and usefulness is very welcome, Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.