Improving the Electoral Chances of Pacific Women through an Evidence-Based Approach

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This report draws on discussions that occurred at a three-day workshop hosted by the Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) and State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program (SSGM) at the Australian National University in Canberra in June 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to review the evidence base regarding lessons learned about successful campaigning, how women are positioned to run successful campaigns, and how development partners might enhance the effectiveness of support provided to women candidates by drawing on and responding to this evidence base. While the workshop focused on the Melanesian context — and Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, in particular — it drew on lessons from other parts of the Pacific islands region and the findings of this synthesis report may be applicable more widely. The workshop was attended by a broad range of stakeholders, including campaign activists, women candidates, former and current sitting members of legislatures, development partners, NGOs, policymakers and academics from Melanesia and Australia. An annotated copy of the three-day workshop program is provided at Appendix A, with speaker names excluded. Discussions at the workshop were held on a Chatham House basis to encourage frank discussion. While the synthesis provided in this report draws on those discussions, this report reflects the analysis of the authors and should not be taken to reflect the views of attendees at the workshop. This report is supplemented by a series of framing papers which were presented at that workshop to inform focused workshop discussions and have been published as SSGM In Briefs in tandem with this report.