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This page collects stories on developments throughout the Pacific in promoting women in politics. Because many news sites in the Pacific archive their stories after a period of time, we have replicated the stories in full on this page, to keep an archive on efforts and article in the region. We thank all Pacific news colleagues for their contributions in sharing stories on women in politics. If you have a story we have missed, please send it to the PacWIP team on

12 women standing in Tonga elections in November 2021

30th September, 2021

[30 September 2021] – Tongans go to the polls on November 18 with less candidates than the previous two elections. There are 75 candidates for the 17 democratically-elected seats – down from 86 in 2017 and 104 in 2014.  Among those, 12 women are standing. Kalafi Moala says these numbers show people have become disenchanted...


The future is female in PNG

15th September, 2021

[Leanne Jorari, 15 September 2021] – In 46 years of independence, only seven women have been elected to Papua New Guinea’s parliament. Can the tide turn? It seems fitting that the progressive political party that helped Papua New Guinea to independence 46 years ago, and has been the ruling party for the past two years,...


Samoa’s first woman prime minister finally takes office

09th September, 2021

[Kerryn Baker, ANU, 9 Sept 2021] – The prolonged constitutional crisis that had engulfed Samoa since the 9 April 2021 election finally concluded on 23 July with a Court of Appeal ruling. The court ruled that the 24 May swearing-in of Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and...


Temporary special measures in PNG – latest developments

12th August, 2021

[Dr Orovu Sepoe, 12 August 2021] – This is the second of a two-part blog mapping the long and slow journey of temporary special measures (TSM) in PNG – measures designed to increase women’s participation in politics. This part brings the journey up to date, and speculates on the uncertainty remaining around TSM as the...


Samoa’s first female leader has made history

28th July, 2021

[Patricia O’Brien, 28 July 2021] – After nearly four months of being taken to the brink of dictatorship, Samoa’s constitutional crisis ended on July 26 when the prime minister for the past 23 years, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, conceded defeat. With the April 9 election loss, the 40-year dominance of Samoan politics by Tuilaepa’s Human Rights...


Samoa set to appoint first female PM – Fiame Naomi Mataafa

18th May, 2021

Samoa’s supreme court overrules attempt by head of state to void April election results, paving way for the opposition to form a government. Fiame Naomi Mataafa is poised to become Samoa’s first female prime minister, after the Pacific nation’s top court helped break a month-long political impasse that followed a tightly contested election in April....


Five reserved seats for women in PNG Parliament ‘a good start’

29th April, 2021

Advocates for increased female political representation in Papua New Guinea have welcomed the PNG Government’s endorsement of five reserved seats for women in Parliament. Politicians, including PNG’s Attorney General Dr Eric Kawa, announced their support for the reforms this week. A bill has not been introduced into Parliament and details of the legislation have not...


Women exceed parliamentary quota in Samoa

13th April, 2021

[By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong, 10/04/2021] A statutory mandate ensuring a 10 per cent quota for women in Parliament will not need to be activated after Friday’s election after five women were elected to the XVII Parliament. The quota system is designed to increase women’s political participation and reserves five seats in the...


Women Leaders Speak Out on Violence Against Women in Politics in the Pacific Islands

31st March, 2021

[March 31, 2021] – Countries in the Pacific Islands have some of the lowest rates of women’s political participation and highest levels of gender-based violence in the world. Historically, women have been excluded from political structures and processes, which are dominated by patriarchal and traditional tribal norms. While the political environment is changing in Fiji,...


Private sector progress in women’s leadership in the Pacific

10th March, 2021

[By Sarah Boxall] – The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” – a celebration of global progress towards women’s equal representation in leadership positions. For the Pacific, discussion of women’s leadership has focused on women’s political representation, which at just 7% is...


Palau Women’s Int’l Day celebrates women in leadership

09th March, 2021

[By Leilani Reklai] – In a COVID world, women around the world are faced with much greater difficulties than ever before such as increased domestic violence, greater economic displacement, and marginalization overall. Palau women commemorated the Women’s International Day focusing on Women in Leadership and “Inclusive Palau During COVID-19 and Beyond”. While Palau is COVID...


Samoa: Women candidates mixed views on entering Parliament through quota system

01st March, 2021

There are mixed opinions expressed by six Samoan women candidates for the upcoming general election on women entering Parliament on their own merits or by the existing 10 percent quota.