Vanuatu's Parliament has passed legislation providing for reserved seats for women in the country's Municipal Councils.
The amendment to the Municipalities Act, which was passed with unanimous support among MPs, provides that one seat in every ward in a municipality must be reserved for a woman.
Under the new law, a female candidate for an election to a municipal council cannot contest for both a reserved seat and a general seat in a ward in a municipality.
The new law will take effect for the first time in the Port Vila Council elections in November.
The government says the reserved seats provision is part of moves to increase the participation of females in leadership roles in Vanuatu.
It says it's taking steps to meets its commitments under the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, including a goal to achieve 30 percent participation of women in national, provincial and municipal levels of Government.