A partnership has been launched between the University of the South Pacific and the United Nations Development Program. The partnership provides a framework for co-operation between the parties, recognising the need for innovative research and public policy debate to underpin effective development solutions. The launch was celebrated with a panel discussion on the theme Women in Parliament which coincided with International Women's Day.
Women membership of parliaments is an indicator of the third Millennium Development Goals and has been globally acknowledged as an issue of concern. Co-ordinator for Women in Local Government (Commonwealth Local Government Project), Priscilla Singh gave a brief first-hand account of the prejudice women in the higher echelons of public office faced. "And my colleague in the crowd will vouch for this - there were times when I was booed at, sworn at, told my place was in the kitchen and even threatened with the possibility of a kettle being thrown at me," said Ms Singh of her time at the Suva City Council. Other guest speakers highlighted the Pacific having the lowest percentage of female representation in Parliament as well as the need for temporary special measures to be put in place to advance women's equality.
[Fiji Times - Samisoni Nabilivalu]
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