Solomon Islands newest female MP encourages women to pursue leadership

1:52 pm on 5 July 2018

Solomon Islands' newest female MP is encouraging all women to rise above their challenges and pursue their leadership ambitions.

Lanelle Tanangada MP for Gizo Kolombangara Constituency. May 2018.

Lanelle Tanangada MP for Gizo Kolombangara Constituency. May 2018. Photo: Solomon Star newspaper

Lanelle Tanangada registered a resounding victory in the Gizo Kolombangara by-election in April.

She is the first woman to be elected to parliament in the Western Province.

Her husband Jimson Tanangada formerly occupied the seat but lost it after he was convicted of bribing voters in the 2014 elections.

Mrs Tanangada said she was asked to contest by her people.

She is using her platform to urge all women with leadership aspirations to engage with their communities.

"In all our cultures in the Pacific we work closely with men and so I would like to encourage women get the support from men as well as women - and definitely there is nothing that would stop them if they believe that they have that capacity - the leadership qualities. Women can also rise above and work alongside men."

Lanelle Tanangada is one of only two women MPs in Solomon Islands 50 member parliament.

The other is Freda Soriacomua the MP for Temotu Vatud.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1978 only four women have ever been elected to the country's parliament.

The first was Hilda Kari who successfully contested a by-election in 1989 for the North East Guadalcanal constituency as well as elections in 1993 and 1997.

And Vika Lusibaea preceded Freda and Lanelle winning a by-election in 2012 for the North Malaita constituency.