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This page collects together publications on issues related to women in politics from both the Pacific and the world. It collects together research documents, campaigning resources and key papers. If you have a publication we have missed, please send it to the PacWIP team at

Research: Aiding Women Candidates in Solomon Islands: Suggestions for Development Policy

This research by Terrence Wood discusses the poor performance of women candidates in Solomon Islands elections and potential aid policy responses. The article outlines women candidates’ performance, details challenges faced by women, examines existing aid work designed to help women candidates and provides policy suggestions.

The article argues that existing aid policy focused on candidate training and voter education has achieved little because the main impediments women candidates face are access to finance and local gatekeepers, alongside more subtle normative constraints. These are barriers that are not easily shifted by training or education programs.

Meanwhile, for reasons of political economy, another area of aid-supported engagement, a parliamentary gender quota, is unlikely to be enacted. Reflecting this, and the nature of the challenges women candidates face, the article recommends donors also undertake work to help prospective women candidates engage.

(Source: Wiley Online Library, Asia & the Pacific Policy studies)

Report: Women Policy & Political Leadership: Regional perspectives in today's world

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a political foundation. The report aims to share perspectives on women in political leadership from the regions of Africa, America, Asia, Australiasia including a piece on Pacific trends, and Europe.

Women’s participation in politics and their secure access to political life is very important for democratic development and sustainability. After overcoming stiff resistance and negotiating for their rights, women all over the world have mobilized across political lines and from the standpoints of different social and cultural status and ethnic affiliations to work towards the goal of gender equality. The hard work has paid off and there have indeed been positive changes in most regions of the world: the average number of women in parliament has increased from 15.7 percent in 2004 to nearly 22.2 percent in 2014; but we are still some way away from the Beijing Platform for Action target of 30 percent women in decision making positions. 

Author/s: Women Policy & Political leadership Date: 28 October 2015
Institution: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung File size and type: 3.32 MB (PDF)
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ODI report (2015): The Power to Decide: Women, decision-making and gender equality

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. This ODI report focuses on women’s decision-making power, in particular their ability to influence political decisions about the distribution of public authority, rights and resources. It looks at the reasons for women’s increased presence in public life around the world, and why women in some socioeconomic groups, sectors and countries have less political power than others. It also examines when and how women have power and influence in practice, and what they seek to achieve. Recommendations on how the international community can better support women’s access to decision-making and leadership are presented as well.

Key Messages of the Report

  • Around the world, women today have more political power and influence than ever. There has been progress even in the most conservative societies.
  • Key to women’s political power are access to education and material assets, more equal and inclusive politics, strong women’s movements and being effective political operators.
  • Some women have more influence than others, both within and between countries. Men continue to dominate some sectors and the most powerful positions in society.
  • Women in positions of power may not champion gender equality.
  • The international community can better support women’s political leadership by investing in women’s education and economic assets, their organisations and their political apprenticeship; focusing on political systems and not just elections; and supporting locally led and problem-driven responses.
Author/s: The Power to Decide: Women, decision-making and gender equality Date: 28 October 2015
Institution: Overseas Development Institute (ODI). File size and type: 80 KB (PDF)
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Gender Equality: Women’s participation and leadership in governments at the local level

This report by UNDP provides research and analysis of the underlying causes for the lack of participation by women in leadership at local and national levels to help policymakers and all stakeholders who are trying to improve participation and leadership by women leading to also security and safety of women in the region. Following from the Women’s Representation in Local Government in Asia-Pacific: Status Report 2010 and the regional conference on South Asia Women’s Political Leadership in Dhaka held in 2011, and the common declaration on Women’s Political Leadership in South Asia, the report analyses where progress has been made, and more importantly, where and why progress has fallen short, concluding with recommendations for how changes may be made within the emerging trends in the region. The report also has collected an impressive amount of statistics on women’s political representation at the national, district and local levels, as well as showing the different trends in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, which can facilitate targeted interventions by the various stakeholders engaged in gender empowerment.

Author/s: UNDP Date: 19 December 2014
Institution: File size and type: 1.54 MB (PDF)
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Public Perceptions of Women in Leadership - a Research Project of the Fiji Women's Forum

This 2014 study looks at the perception of women in politics and leadership generally in Fiji. The study draws attention to the gender bias that lies at the heart of why women are under-represented in government and the necessity for definitive action to support women's political participation.  A copy of the report can be obtained either from Fiji Women's Rights Movement, FemLINKpacific, the National Council of Women or the Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei.

A two page brief from the International Women's Development Agency (IWDA) summarizes the findings and recommendations from the report.  The research was done in partnership with IWDA.

Author/s: Fiji Women's Forum/International Women's Development Agency Date: 18 November 2014
Institution: File size and type: 543 KB (PDF)
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