Attitudes towards women’s political participation in Solomon Islands

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

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September 28, 2020

Attitudes towards women’s political participation in Solomon Islands

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A total of 26 women stood as candidates at the 2019 Solomon Islands national general election and, for the first time since independence, two women won seats in the national parliament. While this could be perceived as a positive development, it is clear that women remain poorly represented in national politics. Baker has provided a detailed overview of women’s candidacy and their competitiveness at the 2019 election. This blog serves to complement that analysis by identifying key challenges for improving women’s political participation based on the data collected from our observation. It begins with an analysis of women’s affiliation with political parties before presenting survey results on attitudes towards women candidates and observations on women’s political campaigns.

Political parties and women candidates

Recent legislation that creates incentives for political parties to endorse women candidates has had limited success to date. The Political Parties Integrity Act 2014 introduced a number of reforms aimed at strengthening political parties, including specific measures relating to women’s political participation. In particular, it allows for the provision of a ‘special measures grant’ to any political party that supports the election of a woman into parliament. The Act also requires political parties to ‘reserve for women at least ten per cent of the total number of candidates it selects and endorses to contest an election’ (s. 48(1)). In cases where political parties receive less than 10 per cent of applications from women, however, they become exempt from the need to reserve any places for women. In practice, this caveat means that political parties can easily sidestep the requirement to recruit more women.

Click here to read the full article published by Dev Policy on 21 September 2020.

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