27 Jan 2016

Barriers for women in Nauru elections

8:42 am on 27 January 2016

An aspiring female candidate in Nauru Ann Hubert says cultural barriers are holding women back from being involved in politics in the country.


Nauru Photo: AFP

Elections are to be held later this year, and the United Nations has held a series of workshops hoping to increase the participation of women.

Ms Hubert says women are more educated than men in Nauru, but both women and men see Parliament as a man's job.

The Chamber of Parliament, Nauru

The Chamber of Parliament, Nauru Photo: Supplied

"When it came to the actual polling day, it just went back to like voting for the men. Because either your parents wanted you too, or because your husband told you to vote, and then it went back to the cultural, it's the man that you should vote for, because they should be running the country, not the women."

Ms Hubert says education and information can change people's mindsets about the ability of women as politicians.

"With the woman in Parliament right now that we have, she basically broke the ice. Some people were 50/50 whether she would do well or not. But slowly now, I think people now can see that women can do the job."

Ms Hubert says the short amount of campaigning time ahead of the upcoming elections may mean women are disadvantaged.

"We've been given a really short time. Like polling day is in five months time, and it's just not enough time for the women. But whether or not they do get it or not, I think they will be creating some waves in this election."

The UN says it is hoping to challenge the mindset with workshops for aspiring candidates and education for the local media on how to produce gender-sensitive coverage.