Political Participation of men and women key to achieving sustainable development

Dec 19, 2017

Select male Members of Parliament from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga with UNDP Asia-Pacific, Gender Adviser, Koh Miyaoi. (Photo: UNDP/Jone Raqauqau)

Brisbane, Australia – A two-day validation workshop convened select male Members of Parliament (MPs), from 10 Pacific Islands countries, to build on existing gender equality activities that makes the participation of women in politics not only a reality but a norm. 

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), international comparison shows that the Pacific region has the lowest proportion of women in national parliaments around the world. 

Derogatory, stereotypical gender norms are at the heart of gender inequality in the Pacific.

As of November 2017, women have never comprised more than 10% of the membership of national parliaments in Pacific Forum Islands Countries since Independence, and the percentage of women in Pacific parliaments currently hovers at around 7.2% .

A fundamental shift from the idea that men and women play separate, distinct roles can be the key to increased participation and representation of women in politics in the Pacific region. 

“In the Pacific, no program has yet been devised or implemented to support male political leaders to act on their personal and collective commitments to women’s greater inclusion in politics and decision-making,” said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Asia-Pacific, Gender Adviser, Koh Miyaoi.  

“We have asked you here to help us identify a strategy or strategies that will effectively engage male political leaders who want to see greater partnership between men and women in politics.”

“Through this validation workshop, we aim to design and implement a new programme for male advocates who wish to further promote women’s participation in politics in the Pacific and who would willingly promote gender equality as an effective way to achieve sustainable development and the full participation of ALL in society,” said Miyaoi. 

The discussions and outcomes of the validation workshop will be used to finalise and launch the regional strategy and implementation roadmap, including the formulation of a network of male MP advocates for women in politics, complete with a workplan that outlines future activities for the selected group of MPs. 

It is foreseen that a working committee, made up of relevant development partners working to promote gender equality, women’s political participation, and parliamentary strengthening, will be convened to provide oversight in the implementation of the regional strategy.  

Participants at the workshop included male MPs from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Contact information

Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. E: jone.raqauqau@undp.org, P: (679) 3227 552, M: (679) 9936 744  

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