Concern over Tahiti gender parity provisions

4:55 pm on 17 December 2018

Questions are being raised in French Polynesia about whether amending the statute will eliminate gender parity in the territorial assembly.

70672660 - men and women on scales. concept of gender inequality

Photo: prazis/123RF

Current provisions require that among the 57 assembly members there are either 28 or 29 women representatives.

However, the ruling Tapura Huiraatira wants to apply the spread the gender alternating policy to the eight sections which make up the assembly.

This means that more male politicians topping the sections could tilt the assembly composition to reduce the number of female representatives to possibly 23.

The proposed amendments to the statute are to be studied and decided by the French legislature.

While some women fear a weakening of their numbers in the assembly, others say the principle is not being challenged.

Since the parity law was adopted in France in 2000, the French Polynesian assembly intermittently had a female majority.

However, French Polynesia has never had female head of government while at one stage New Caledonia had a woman president and woman vice-president.

In most Pacific Island countries, very few women get elected to their representative assemblies.