SOTP2016 - Women and Elections
Elections are one of the most visible expressions of democracy. The unequal participation of women and men in elections as candidates and voters is a key issue in Pacific politics. The Pacific has the lowest level of women’s representation in parliament of any region in the world; only one in 20 Pacific parliamentarians are women, compared to one in five globally. While there have been some notable gains in recent elections in the Pacific—including an increase to 10 per cent women’s representation in the Samoan Parliament, and the election of the region’s first female head of government, Hilda Heine in Marshall Islands—progress on the issue has been slow and uneven. As voters, women are disproportionately affected by voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, and the experiences of women voters with money politics in elections can be very different from their male counterparts. This session will look at women’s participation in elections from both academic and candidate perspectives, and in regional and country-specific contexts.