02nd December, 2013
Parliament needs to reflect the society it represents, says Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s executive director Virisila Buadromo.
Explaining why it was important to support temporary special measures for women in Parliament, she said: “It is not about giving women special privileges but it is about narrowing the gap and addressing the historical discrimination women have faced in politics.”
Ms Buadromo made the comments as the Fiji Women’s Forum organised a Women in Politics consultation in Suva earlier this week to lay the foundation for advancing women’s participation at all levels of decision-making.
“The Fiji Women’s Forum remains committed to temporary special measures and it is a temporary option. It will not be there forever but we need it because in the past 30 years, we have had dismal numbers in women’s representation,” she said.
The FWRM, FemLINK Pacific, National Council of Women Fiji and the Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei are co-conveners of the forum.
Women’s representation in Parliament within the Pacific Island region is said to be one of the lowest in the world, at less than 5 per cent.
The consultation heard about initiatives in Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands where legislative reforms were addressing the gaps in decision-making in national and local government structures.
A statement from the forum said: “While sights are set on the national election for 2014, it is more than about increasing the number of women in Parliament but also about taking a long-term view to increase the number of representatives support human rights, the rule of law and gender equality.”