02nd February, 2016
An aspiring female candidate in Nauru says she’s hopeful that with the UN’s help, more women will be standing in the election this year.
UN Women have recently run a series of workshops in Nauru, aiming to increase women’s participation in politics.
Bridget Grace spoke with Ann Hubert about why she’s considering making the leap into politics for the first time.
ANN HUBERT: Had a lot of elections that have gone past. The same people going in and out of Parliament, voted in and out, the same bunch. And I don’t think they’ve done much to change Nauru. I know Nauru has gone through a lot. You know, as a person who lives in communities, you see things that they don’t see. You live through things and you feel things, that people who are working in the high-up positions are too busy to even notice. These are real, real issues that people go through. I’ve been working in the communities for many years. It’s not more or less I want to be a Politician, but if being a Politician is the only way to get things happening for the people that we need, especially for women and children, then maybe we should be involved in Parliament.
BRIDGET GRACE: I understand in Nauru the numbers for women being involved in politics is quite low. Why do you think that is?
AH: We’ve always had these cultural things, that women, women should do women’s stuff and let men run the country. Even though on Nauru a lot more women are educated than the men, it’s just that cultural thing that we have. And it took a lot of guts for the women who actually started putting there names down as candidates. That was the first step. Some went through rough times, some were good, you know, their constituency supported them, even though it was not enough. They had support from people yeah, their minds and their hearts, verbally maybe. Like they understood that she was capable of doing it, she was educated enough, she knew what she wanted to do. But when it came to the actual polling day, it just went back to like voting for the men. Because either your parents wanted you too, or because your husband told you to vote, and then it went back to the cultural, it’s the man that you should vote for, because they should be running the country, not the women. With the cultural thing there’s a lack of women’s support, supporting women into Parliament in Nauru at the moment. So the mindset has to be changed. There’s a lot of women here that think that it’s a man’s job to be in Parliament, not a woman’s.
BG: How can that mindset can be changed?
AH: A lot of education and information really. With the woman in Parliament right now that we have, she basically broke the ice. Some people were 50/50 whether she would do well or not. But slowly now, I think people now can see that women can do the job. With this upcoming election, we have a lot more women that I know that will be candidates. The mindset really, it’s the young people, they’re more open, you know, they’re shifting with times. But then it’s the older folk who maybe are still stuck in time, when they think it’s not a woman’s place in Parliament. The older folk usually they do have influence on the younger generation, and they also have influence on their votes.
BG: What chance do you think women will have in the election this year?
AH: We’ve been given a really short time. Like polling day is in five months time, and it’s just not enough time for the women. But whether or not they do get it or not, I think they will be creating some waves in this election.