A bill on ‘temporary special measures’ for increasing gender balance in the legislature of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is expected to be presented for public hearings later this year and could be reported out favorably as early as January next year.
Chair of the FSM Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations, Peter Sitan, said he would take the bill to the States (provinces) for public hearings in November. He made the announcement at the 2009 Micronesia Legislatures Conference. The MLC ran from 7-9 September and was attended by members of FSM’s national congress and four state legislatures.
Mr Sitan was speaking after a presentation by Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Women, Ethel Sigimanu on temporary special measures. Ms Sigimanu, who has been at the helm of the Solomon Islands initiative to increase the balance between women and men in the legislature, travelled to FSM to give the presentation in an effort to provide the legislative summit with a better understanding of what temporary special measures are, how they work and the benefits they bring to Pacific Island countries. She also spoke about the ongoing Solomon Islands experience of introducing such measures to increase gender balance at the highest levels of political leadership.
Ms Sigimanu’s presentation received enthusiastic applause from delegates at the summit. Ms Sigimanu's attendance at the summit was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Local presentations on temporary special measures, supported by the UN Development Fund for Women, preceded Ms Sigimanu's address.
SPC’s Deputy Director-General, Richard Mann, said ‘SPC is very pleased to be able to contribute to this important inter-governmental dialogue between Solomon Islands and FSM, and to support the initiatives of our member countries for enhancing gender balance at all levels of decision-making in our region.’
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