One potential method of increasing the number of women in politics is through the use of institutional measures designed to ensure a minimum level of women’s representation. These are often called ‘temporary special measures’, although they are not always intended to be temporary. The United Nations and other international organisations have strongly promoted special measures as a method of rapidly increasing the number of women in politics. Yet despite significant global uptake in the 1990s and 2000s, and the promotion of them by international bodies, few Pacific states have introduced special measures to date. In many post-conflict societies, special measures are first introduced as part of a new political settlement; this has occurred in some parts of the Pacific region in periods of political transition (Bougainville and Timor-Leste), but not in others (Solomon Islands).
This In Brief discusses temporary special measures and institutional approaches to improving the electoral chances of women in the Pacific island region.