29 Nov 2010

Long term remedy needed for lack of women in Cook Island's parliament

8:39 am on 29 November 2010

The Cook Islands National Council of Women says co-opting a woman into the new cabinet is only a short term remedy for the lack of women's representation in parliament.

It appears only one woman candidate, Ngamau Monokoa from the Democratic Party, was successful in the general election, down from three in the previous parliament.

Two female Democratic Party MPs lost their seats in the swing against the government, while the only candidate from the wining Cook Island Party's lost.

The Cook Islands Party leader Henry Puna says there are people within his team who could represent women's issues, but he will consider co-opting a woman into cabinet.

The President of the National Council of Women Vaine Wichman says the parties needs to do more.

"I do believe the structures of both political parties do not encourage our good women candidates to come through because as soon as they realise the amount of work involved in getting in, they realise that they are going to sacrifice a lot of their own just as important commitments."

Vaine Wichman says she will consider a cabinet position if its offered.

But she says proportional representation could help more women get into parliament in the long term.