Women in government or representation of women in Parliament are often quite hard for many to accept in this country, however since the national general election is just around the corner, it is the right time to give it a focus again.
All alone, it seems that Solomon Islands government remained unconvinced of the need for women's participation in Parliament.
Representation of women in Parliament is not a new issue, but is significantly critical to the economic development and the political stability of this country as well as balancing of leadership.
It is also an opportunity to address issues affecting women and girls in this country more effectively such as gender based violence, leadership inequalities and many other issues that are important for women that are rarely addressed at the highest level of decision making in this country.
LEADERSHIP IS A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY according to the current Member of Parliament Hon. Dudley Tausinga when a delegation of women leaders met with members of the Sikua Government back in 2006.
Placing the issue of women being represented in Parliament is not a competition against men, but it is really a race for both sexes to engage in.
This is a combination of capabilities put together to bring this country forward and for the better. If women are represented in Parliament, it will balance the manner in which national issues are discussed as well as the processes in which decisions are made.
In Solomon Islands, the opportunity to give support for our women to participate in the debate of important national issues in Parliament is vast.
It will take a different turn from the usual way in which our men approach such issues. The chances of women discussing issues and relating these issues to reflect the lives of ordinary men and women of this country are massive.
This will show that there is a linkage between the issues discussed in Parliament and the issues Solomon Islanders are facing. When there is linkage, transparency and accountability amongst leaders will become more obvious.
More Solomon Islanders needs to have confidence in women in leadership. Confidence about believing in women that wherever they are and whatever they do, whether at home or outside the home front they are capable and competent to undertake the responsibility that is placed on them.
At the same time Cabinet decision-making lies at the heart of responsible government and that is where women need to be if they are to have any real effect in the country.
Again not all women are competent to do that. While women are supported to get into Parliament, it is about capability and credibility. Women who are competent enough to stand the pressure of demands from the House of Parliament itself and the demands from the people she represents. Women who are able to understand the intensive discussion of issues that are discuss in Parliament and fully engaged in the whole process of decision making.
As a country it is time to take our women more seriously when it comes to political leadership. For this country has many quality and qualified women who are far competent and proactive more than some of the current Members of Parliament.
Representation of women in Parliament is not new. However, there is confusion amongst many Solomon Islanders that women are not born to be leaders, but to get married and stay at home.
This concept is quite premature, but this is exactly what’s happening in many of our traditions in this country. The mentality that only men can climb up the balcony of leadership in SI is very much alive and accepted as a norm.
The ordinary People who have the power to change the face of this country in Parliament continuous to be blinded by nepotism and incentives given to them by elites who wants influence and fame and wants to stay in power. Today each man and woman has the choice to choose who to represent him or her.
As was stated before in this article, there are many quality and qualified women in this country and if they are given the opportunity to lead, these women will do marvellous things for this country and for their people.
One of the very obvious gifts that women have is thinking about OTHERS FIRST in most of the things they do. Look at where this country is at today. Where are all the resources and the millions and millions of dollars coming into this country every year?
Where did these funds go? This is not saying that men are more corrupt than women, but the chances of women being corrupt is quite minor than men. It is critical for Parliament to have women, women who can speak and not to be pulled by their noses.
We need women who can make a positive difference, who knows where her position and status is and the kind of influence her male counters are having on her and ways to deal with that.
The kind of women we are talking about here are women who have very strong principles and values, one that promotes respect for her male counterparts in whatever circumstance she may encounter, one that truly and honestly represents her people and believe in them, one that stands for the truth, one that do not let bad influence gets in her way and finally one that has high interest in the national issues of this country.
There is need for greater realisation that ‘if full advantage is to be taken of the talent available in the community and if community perspectives are to be adequately reflected, women need to participate along with men in Parliament’. To have this kind of focus in place a strategy needs to be established so that women are not overlooked.
As this country is preparing for the general election this year, there are women who will be contesting for the national general election this year. These women will need all the support they can get from Solomon Islanders to get anywhere near the House of Parliament.
Really it is all up to us to make a positive difference in the up -coming leadership for 2014. This is not about competition, but more for the balancing of political leadership in SI, a representative leadership that both men and women are fully engaged.
In conclusion, this is an opportunity for both men and women to work together by supporting each other get into Parliament. Women in Parliament is not about women competing against men nor is an EGO thing, but it is about partnership and sharing of responsibility in the highest decision making House in the country so that it can move forward to a much more fairer and economically sound nation.
By Ella Kauhue