The ways women are simultaneously integrated into the national political landscape yet excluded from the legislative processes in Melanesian societies are at the core of this panel. The panelists will discuss the implications for improving women’s leadership representation at the national level using data collected over the Domestic Observations of three national elections (2007 and 2012 PNG, 2014 Solomon Islands). Given that PNG currently has three female MPs and Solomon Islands has one, the discussion will also give accounts of the successful strategies with a view to examining how generalisable they are. Two members of SSGM recently attended the Autonomous Bogainville Government elections as part of the Improving Women’s Leadership, Political Participation and Decision Making in the Pacific project and will report on their findings at this panel.
Taking into consideration that women’s leadership and decision making in the Pacific is most visible at the local level, and it is here that leadership gains have been the greatest, panellists will also present analyses of the current situation in a number of Pacific Island Countries to assess the possible pathways to improved political representation.