SOLOMON ISLANDS: Give Woman a Chance: Manu

Monday, August 2, 2010
Solomon Star
Solomon Is.
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Women getting into Parliament this election do not mean they won't face challenges since in our culture, men dominate in leadership position.

Audrey Manu National Coordinator for Gender Equality and Political Governance Program of the United Nation Fund for Women (UNIFEM) told journalist at a press conference on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media she said women getting into parliament will face challenges like gender stereotyping which is so engrained in us to see men doing certain things and women doing certain roles.

“Women won't face gender stereotyping roles that we create in our society only but also within the support they get from their families, but women are multi task and should be given a chance to have women representation in Parliament,” she said.

Ms Manu also said strong affirmative action is one way of overcoming challenges that women will face once they get into Parliament.

“There should be greater emphasis placed on the women's impact rather than on their presence, sometimes we tend to look at women in Parliament as decoration without looking at their capabilities and abilities to perform.

“We have not had a lot of women in Parliament so why not give them a chance and allow them to prove to the nation that together with the men they can make a difference in this country,” Ms Manu said.

She said women have been marginalized for so long and have not been given a chance to prove what difference they can really make in the decision making level.

“Women have the right to have equal representation in Parliament because when only males are elected it shows that we have an undemocratic outcome in Parliament,” Ms Manu said.

She stressed that we live in a society where women are conditioned to look at men as leaders, but we should try and put women leaders in Parliament as well, to see what difference they can make.

“Allowing women work in partnership with men to help make equality and equal representation in parliament,” she said.

Ms Manu stressed that even if no women is elected into Parliament this round the campaign for women in leadership under the gender equality program will still go on until 2014.

However Val Stanley of UNIFEM said it will take time before more people will see the benefits of having women in Parliament and understand the importance of women making decisions in Parliament.

Ms Stanley stressed that legislative in the country should be changed inorder to promote and push women in leadership position.

“Please consider the benefits of women coming in parliament and get rid of stereotyping, if we do not have equal representation in parliament things will stay the same lets give women a chance,” she said in her final statement at the press conference.

However UNIFEM is part of the United Nation and their main goal in Solomon Islands is support the government, currently they are supporting the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs implement their programs.

UNIFEM in Solomon Islands have future plans to spread out in the Provinces currently they are based in Honiara.