26 Sep 2008

PNG Prime Minister calls for more effort to be made to get women into Pacific legislatures

2:02 pm on 26 September 2008

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, says the nations of the Pacific need to have both genders represented in parliament if they are to realise their full potential in the global environment.

Sir Michael Somare says custom can no longer be used to stop the recognition of women as equal partners in a Pacific countries are aspiring to embrace many western ideals and concepts.

He was speaking at a Pacific Islands Forum organised two-day workshop in Port Moresby on special measures for advancing women's representation in legislatures.

Parliamentary representation for women in the Pacific is just three percent against the world average of 16 percent.

Sir Michael says the members of the legislature should be doing much more to change the mindset of voters to give women equal consideration at election time.

Sir Michael also says he favours using reserved seats, and says one of the simple ways forward would be to have separate polling booths; one for women and one for men.

And he says he feels it is also up to women to be more assertive.