Sunday, June 20, 2021
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New Dawn Of Women’s Leadership In The Pacific


The Fiji Women’s Forum extends its well wishes to the
people of Samoa as it prepares to usher in its first female
Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

The Forum
warmly congratulates Mata’afa who is no stranger to
women’s leadership in the Pacific having served as
Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister recently and held a few
ministerial portfolios in the Samoan Government as
well.

Mata’afa is a strong advocate for women’s
development and participation in politics and one of
Samoa’s first female members of Parliament. She is also a
fierce defender of the parliamentary gender quota that
assures more women representation in the Samoan Parliament.
In 2016, Samoa became the first country in the Pacific to
legislate reserved seats for women (10 per cent) to promote
gender balance in national legislatures. According to data
compiled by Pacific Women Shaping Pacific
Development
, women’s political participation currently
comprises around 8.2 per cent in the Pacific, compared to a
global average of around 24.3 per cent in the Lower House of
Representatives.

The Fiji Women’s Forum believes
that the full representation of women at all levels of
decision making is a fundamental prerequisite for gender
equality and genuine democracy and enforcing quotas in
leadership roles for women can help to ensure that women’s
perspectives are sufficiently represented in
society.

However, quotas work only when there are
safeguards to ensure that the women placed in these
positions represent a wide cross-section of women.

The
validation of Mata’afa’s victory by the Supreme Court and
her leadership of her new party, against a decades-long
incumbent Government, is inspirational and paves the way for
all female politicians, and young women with political
aspirations in the Pacific region. The Forum is hopeful that
more women will be encouraged to persist and engage in the
political process and in decision making spaces within their
own

governments. Increasing women’s participation in
politics and securing their access to political life is of
particular importance to democratic development and
sustainability.

The Fiji Women’s Forum has been
engaging since 2012 towards Fiji’s democratisation
process. The Fiji Women’s Forum is co-convened by
femLINKpacific, Soqosoqo Vakamarama i-Taukei and Fiji
Women’s Rights
Movement.

© Scoop Media

 



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