Pacific women in parliament: A ‘pleasant surprise’

Matilda Gillis

Politics | Pacific


Matilda Gillis outlines the 'transformative' potential for culture to facilitate and promote female participation in Pacific politics.
‘Her election was seen as a ‘pleasant surprise to the nation’’[1]
There is, generally, very low participation by women in the national parliaments of Pacific Island countries. As of 2014, for example, ‘Vanuatu had no women MPs, there was just one woman MP in the Solomon Islands, and three in Papua New Guinea’.[2] Although there are exceptions to such statistics across the region,[3] and life is hardly the same for women in every Pacific nation, ‘similarities and uniformities’ nevertheless exist across the region [4] Low female representation in parliament constitutes an overall trend in twenty-one Pacific Island countries.[5] It is not simply ‘the region with the lowest proportion of female MPs, but it is also improving the slowest’.[6]

12 minute read

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Humans of West Papua

Emma Roberts

Society and culture | Southeast Asia


Emma Roberts documents an eye-opening week in the Baliem Valley of Papua, Indonesia. What she encountered was a place where Melanesian culture is strong but the lives of the locals are also dominated by mosques and Indomie; a place where people live in regions impenetrable by transportation but continue to travel long distances on foot with big smiles on their faces; a place where life is tough but resilience is tougher.

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2 minute read

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