FSM holds women-in-politics dialogue "Enhancing Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process through Learning and Sharing”

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSMIS) — On Aug. 18, the FSM Women Action Network began a three day dialogue on women-in-politics with the theme “Enhancing Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process through Learning and Sharing.”

The meeting was held at the central facilities in Palikir, Pohnpei and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Pacific Islands Fund.

A group of approximately 20 women came together at the opening plenary and master of ceremonies Tina Takesy opened the meeting with a few words and an introduction of Pohnpei state Sen. Magdalena Walter, who gave the opening remarks.

Walter began by saying that this is the perfect time in FSM for promoting equal participation in the area of politics.

She mentioned how cultural practices can sometimes work against equal rights for women in politics, but that women’s rights, which are really human rights, call for equal access for men and women to participate in politics.

Walter stated that men and women have different priorities, which are sometimes far apart, but when they work together, “the outcome is always better.”

The keynote address for the opening plenary was given by Miriam Hughes, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the FSM.

Hughes spoke of the strong leadership she sees from women leaders in the U.S. such as U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and of the recent confirmation of the first female Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor.

She spoke of the women’s movement in the United States dating back to 1862 and Susan Anthony, a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century to get women in the United States and equal right to vote.

She quoted Anthony in saying that “failure is impossible for us” and stated that no matter how long it takes, equal rights for women will come through if women continue to have “courage, patience, and persistence.”

Hughes stated that there is no true democracy without equal participation in politics.

[Marianas Variety]