11th April, 2014
A United Nations advocate says Vanuatu women have one of the lowest levels of participation in political leadership.
Dr Rosina Wiltshire visited Port Vila recently to run a workshop and told our correspondent Hilaire Bule that women’s rights are still not fully recognised in Vanuatu.
ROSINA WILTSHIRE: This workshop is designed to strengthen women’s participation in political leadership and build their capacity to be transformational leaders. Leaders who serve the community, serve the people, in the interests of women, men and children, the whole country; to improve the governance of the country.
HILAIRE BULE: I understand it is not the first time, the first meeting or the first workshop, what is the problem with the women in Vanuatu?
RW: Well there’s no problem with women. Vanuatu has one of the lowest levels of women’s participation in leadership. And we know that when women participate equally the whole country benefits because you get the experience and the perspectives of both men and women at the decision making table. The country has signed on to agreements which say that women have the right to serve their people; and it is not happening. So what we are seeking to do is to strengthen their capability to participate in political decision making and helping the nation in that regard.
HB: Is there an improvement since the first workshop?
RW: Well, five of the women who were trained got in to office at the provincial level, for which we are very grateful and we congratulate them. And I want to say that I congratulate the government and people of Vanuatu for establishing a quota for women at the provincial level. And we hope that that will also happen at the national level. Everybody in Vanuatu is going to benefit from their participation.
Dr Rosina Wiltshire says governments in the Pacific are now realising the benefits of women becoming more politically involved.