25 Mar 2010

Willingness to change electoral systems needed to get more women MPs

4:02 pm on 25 March 2010

The United Nations Development Programme's representative says a more open-minded approach to electoral systems will help Pacific countries get more women into parliament.

Women members average three and a half percent across the region and four countries have no women politicians.

This compares with a global average of women parliamentarians of almost 18 and a half percent.

The UNDP's Knut Ostby says when it comes to increasing women's political representation, extra funding is only one consideration.

"Advocacy is important and the willingness to look at existing electoral systems. For example, when you have constituencies with single representatives that creates an either or situation for the voters so if you have several candidates coming out of a constituency perhaps there's a bigger chance to have more diversity on this gender issues as well as on other issues."

Knut Ostby of the United Nations Development Programme.