This page collects together publications on issues related to women in politics from both the Pacific and the world. It collects together research documents, campaigning resources and key papers. If you have a publication we have missed, please send it to the PacWIP team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s political and administrative leadership in the Pacific
This paper provides an overview of women’s political and administrative leadership in the Pacific. It has been prepared to inform forthcoming design work being undertaken by Pacific Women. The paper incorporates and expands upon an earlier concept note we prepared to inform the original Pacific Women design (Haley and Zubrinich 2012), and considers women’s leadership and participation as it relates to formal institutions and processes, including national and subnational government, the public sector and civic engagement.
Author: Dr Nicole Haley & Dr Kerry Zubrinich
Institution: State Society & Governance in Melanesia Project, ANU
File size and type: 789.47 KBDownload
Building Blocks for Gender Equality: What political parties can do to strengthen the participation and representation of women
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, in partnership with the governments of Samoa and Australia, advocate for women’s political rights and through the implementation of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS) programme are providing training for those women who want to run for office. IPPWS’ trainings aims at supporting women to overcome the barriers they face by strenghtening their skills to exercise leadership and contribute to political life for the benefit of the entire nation.As part of the programme, UNDP and UNWomen launched a handbook titled “Building Blocks for Gender Equality: What Political Parties Can Do to Strengthen the Participation and Representation of Women.” The publication was written by Elizabeth Weir, Canadian national and senior international parliamentary expert, that is also facilitating the IPPWS trainings in Samoa. The publication identifies targeted interventions for promoting the stronger presence and influence of women in political parties. It highlights the benefits for the parties of taking action on Gender Equality, indicate effective measures for ensuring women’s participation in the operations of the party and provide ideas on how to offer financial and mentoring support to candidates during the election process.
Author: Ms. Elizabeth Weir/UNDP Samoa MCO
Institution: Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa. UNDP Multi-Country office, Samoa.
File size and type: 1.07 MBDownload
Building Women’s Leadership: the Contribution of Australia Awards Scholarships
Since the 1950’s Australia has provided scholarships for men and women from developing countries to study at Australian tertiary institutions to ‘develop leadership potential’. Recipients are expected to ‘make a significant contribution to their home countries as leaders in their field’, and be part of an ‘engaged and influential global network of leaders, advocates and change-makers’. The Office of Development Effectiveness evaluated the contribution that scholarships make to women’s leadership. The evaluation included interviews, a document review, and a global analysis of tracer studies in which scholars are asked about experiences and outcomes after completion of their scholarship.
Actions needed to improve women’s leadership outcomes from scholarships were identified. The evaluation found that: Most women are employed after returning home; Just over three quarters of women report having greater operational or technical responsibility, and just over half report having greater financial responsibility within the first three years of return from a scholarship; Most women move into higher positions after their scholarships; Almost all women and their supervisors felt that scholarships contributed to a great or medium extent to professional advancement.
Research: Aiding Women Candidates in Solomon Islands: Suggestions for Development Policy
This research by Terrence Wood discusses the poor performance of women candidates in Solomon Islands elections and potential aid policy responses. The article outlines women candidates’ performance, details challenges faced by women, examines existing aid work designed to help women candidates and provides policy suggestions.
The article argues that existing aid policy focused on candidate training and voter education has achieved little because the main impediments women candidates face are access to finance and local gatekeepers, alongside more subtle normative constraints. These are barriers that are not easily shifted by training or education programs.
Meanwhile, for reasons of political economy, another area of aid-supported engagement, a parliamentary gender quota, is unlikely to be enacted. Reflecting this, and the nature of the challenges women candidates face, the article recommends donors also undertake work to help prospective women candidates engage.
(Source: Wiley Online Library, Asia & the Pacific Policy studies)
File size and type: 0 bytesDownload
Temporary Special Measures to Increase Women’s Political Participation in the Pacific: Case Studies of Implementation in the Region
This report captures the high quality discussions of the "Pacific Regional Conference on Temporary Special Measures", held in Port Moresby in November 2015. This conference was a joint initiative of UNDP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and UN Women’s Multi-Country Office in Fiji, with the financial support of the Australian Aid program.
Author: Sonia Palmieri
Institution: UNDP / PIFS / UNWomen
File size and type: 1.65 MBDownload
ODI report (2015): The Power to Decide: Women, decision-making and gender equality
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. This ODI report focuses on women’s decision-making power, in particular their ability to influence political decisions about the distribution of public authority, rights and resources. It looks at the reasons for women’s increased presence in public life around the world, and why women in some socioeconomic groups, sectors and countries have less political power than others. It also examines when and how women have power and influence in practice, and what they seek to achieve. Recommendations on how the international community can better support women’s access to decision-making and leadership are presented as well.
Author: The Power to Decide: Women, decision-making and gender equality
Institution: Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
File size and type: 79.94 KBDownload
Report: Women Policy & Political Leadership: Regional perspectives in today’s world
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a political foundation. The report aims to share perspectives on women in political leadership from the regions of Africa, America, Asia, Australiasia including a piece on Pacific trends, and Europe.
Women’s participation in politics and their secure access to political life is very important for democratic development and sustainability. After overcoming stiff resistance and negotiating for their rights, women all over the world have mobilized across political lines and from the standpoints of different social and cultural status and ethnic affiliations to work towards the goal of gender equality. The hard work has paid off and there have indeed been positive changes in most regions of the world: the average number of women in parliament has increased from 15.7 percent in 2004 to nearly 22.2 percent in 2014; but we are still some way away from the Beijing Platform for Action target of 30 percent women in decision making positions.
Author: Women Policy & Political leadership
Institution: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
File size and type: 3.29 MBDownload
Bougainville Young Women’s Leadership Research
Author: Richard Eves and Isabel Koredong
Institution: International Women's Development Agency
File size and type: 2.01 MBDownload
Political Representation and Women’s Empowerment in Samoa
This report provides the findings, analysis and policy significance of research aimed to better understand the barriers to women’s political participation in Samoa. The paradoxical situation is that Samoan women have achieved approximate equality to men in most modern spheres of government and the economy, yet have never, since Samoa’s independence in 1962, succeeded in winning more that five seats in the 49 seat parliament. In most parliaments, women have held only one or two seats, usually for a single term. In 2015 Samoa was among the countries ranked lowest int he world for women’s representation in parliament, at 128 out of 140 countries. The research was conducted with assistance from, and in collaboration with, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) over the period April 2013 to July 2015. It consisted of (i) a nationwide survey of women’s participation in political and economic village-based organizations, covering all villages and sub-villages in Samoa; (ii) a qualitative study of village organisation in a sample of 30 villages with and without formal obstacles to women’s participation in village government, and (iii) interviews of women candidates who have stood for past elections.
Women’s Leadership in the Pacific
This paper summarises the state of knowledge on women’s leadership in the Pacific. It concentrates on three spheres: 1) formal politics, the main focus of the literature on women’s empowerment; 2) the bureaucracy, an important employer of women; and 3) civil society, where Pacific women are particularly active. It highlights that Pacific women’s prominent informal peacebuilding role has not always led to their participation in formal peacebuilding processes: opportunities to facilitate equitable social and political change have been missed. In relation to the limited evidence base, it notes that women’s impact on governance and policy-making in the region has received little scrutiny. Further, although gender analyses carried out as part of donor-funded capacity development programmes contain much information on women’s participation in Pacific bureaucracies, this material is rarely made public.
Author: Dr Abby McLeod
Institution: Developmental Leadership Project (DLP)
File size and type: 570.10 KBDownload
Women’s Under-Representation and Special Measures in the Tongan Parliament
Tonga's parliament has never seen more than two women representatives in a single parliamentary term, and there is no sign of a gradual improvement in women's representation over time. Special measures — that is, legislative reforms to increase women's political representation — can be controversial developments, but in this context the institution of special measures would be a means to guarantee the presence and the contribution of women in parliamentary politics. Women activists in Tonga have mostly advocated either a reserved seat model or a 'safety net' model of special measures. This In Brief sets out the cases for and against these two models, with examples from the Pacific islands region, and conclude with a brief discussion of the Tongan political context.
Author: Kerryn Baker
Institution: ANU Department of Pacific Affairs
File size and type: 214.58 KBDownload
Outcomes Statement: Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships Forum 2015
This is the Outcomes Statement from the Second Annual Meeting of Pacific Women Parliamentarians. Women members of Pacific Parliaments met in Suva, Fiji from 29 April to 1 May 2015 to renew friendships and discuss their work as parliamentarians. The Forum’s focus in 2015 was on the theme of family violence in the region. The forum included 63 parliamentarians and participants from 15 jurisdictions including: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand.
Author: Participants Outcomes Statement
Institution: Pacific Women's Parliamentary Partnerships Programme
File size and type: 281.21 KBDownload