18 Sep 2012

Election of woman to Solomons' North Malaita cultural triumph

7:00 pm on 18 September 2012

The victory of a woman in the Solomon Islands electorate of North Malaita is being hailed as a cultural triumph in a society that is dominated by men.

Vika Lusibaea, only the second woman parliamentarian in the Solomons' 34 years of independence, was sworn in on Friday following her significant win in the August by-election.

Our Solomon Islands correspondent says much has been made by women's advocates about Mrs Lusibaea's election, the result of her ex-militant husband's forced vacating of the seat after he was jailed.

But Dorothy Wickham says what a lot of people are missing is that Jimmy Lusibaea chose his wife to replace him.

"It's unusual for him to be doing that coming from the culture that he does. To make that decision himself I think was quite significant and I think she has his total support and I think that will achieve a lot of things for her where she's going to be operating, basically in her constituency."

Dorothy Wickham says although Vika Lusibaea has not spoken about whether she will work to get more women into parliament, she has made her ambitions to improve the lot of her own constituents quite clear.