13 Feb 2024

Proposal to guarantee additional seats for Solomon Islands women in politics

5:21 pm on 13 February 2024
Solomon Islands women at church

Solomon Islands women at church Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

The Ministry of Women in Solomon Islands is looking at new legislation which could guarantee extra seats for women in provincial assemblies.

The SIBC reports in the 45 years of independent governance, 16 women have been voted into Provincial Assemblies and six into Parliament.

Endorsed in December by the now caretaker government, the proposed amendment would establish temporary special measures (TSM) to guarantee additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies.

The TSM endorsement by Cabinet was the result of approximately six years of work led by several ministries and partner organisations including; Women's Rights Action Movement (WRAM), Solomon Islands National Council of Women (SINCW) and the Honiara City Council (HCC), the SIBC reported.

But with elections due in April, the bill's fate lies with the incoming administration.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Dr Cedrick Alependava said in Solomon Islands, politics has always been seen as a man's space, which has historically resulted in the low representation and participation of women at both national and provincial level.

He called the bill history in the making.

"The use of TSM as a strategy to guarantee the additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies has been one of the [government's] commitment to advancing gender equality in Solomon Islands," the caretaker Women's Minister Freda Rangirei Rotutafi in her statement after Cabinet endorsement in December.