Barriers to women’s political participation in Vanuatu

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

July 29, 2022

Barriers to women’s political participation in Vanuatu


In Vanuatu, women mostly watch the political game from the sidelines (Tracey/Flickr)

The way politics is played in Melanesian countries has very little national inclusivity about it – in terms of participation by and representation of both men and women at the national level. The role of women is, almost exclusively, to vote, not to actively play the game itself. To use soccer as an analogy: women can be coaches, spectators and fans. But if a woman wants to go into the field and play, this is no game for her.

The foundation of this game is the political party system. In Vanuatu,  some might be interested in pursuing a platform based on principles, policies and development, but in reality the game played on the ground is about locking in numbers of votes first, usually through incentives, in order to be considered by the party. It is an expensive exercise better played by ‘businessmen’ types – because in communities, your legitimacy is based on your ability to show up and provide material ‘stuff’.

Click here to read the full article published by DevPolicy on 27 July 2022.

Jennifer Kalpokas Doan
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