Kiribati - Women in the house

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12 August 2011

TARAWA - The Maneaba ni Maungatabu (Parliament) was a scene of intense debate and dialogue this week as 30 i-Kiribati women, 13 women from Tarawa and 17 women from the outer islands, came together for the first ever mock Parliament for Women in the Pacific.  At the closing debrief for the mock parliamentarians, the Speaker of the National Parliament of Kiribati, Taomati Iuta said the exercise was very encouraging.

"Today's performance in the House was very impressive. Some of you already sound like real parliamentarians," Mr Iuta said. "At the end of this mock parliament, I hope that constituents will now have a more positive attitude to women, if and when you run for Parliament."  During the debate, the women on the government benches were questioned on wide ranging issues from government's policy on public transport for school children, reserved seats for women in local and national elected bodies to increasing the number of polling stations for voters in outer islands.

Teewata Rokete, an opposition MP in the mock parliament, questioned the government on its policies for people with disabilities. "The real Kiribati government has not yet finalised the National Disability Policy so I asked the mock government when cabinet will endorse the policy. A draft was done in 2007, but it is 2011 and the draft has not yet been finalised. I questioned why the government has been so slow.  "It is very important for people living with disabilities that the government take action to make sure that they have access to necessary services and support."

[Fiji Times - Pns]

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