The Pacific Islands have the lowest level of female parliamentary representation of any region in the world, and electoral trends point to the very slow pace of change. There are 19 male members of parliament to every one female member in the region, compared to four to one globally. This reflects a range of structural factors such as the uneven distribution of power and resources, as well as cultural values. It also reflects the highly competitive nature of electoral politics in the region.
This report draws on discussions that occurred at a three-day workshop hosted by the Centre for Democratic Institutions and State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University in Canberra in June 2016.
The purpose of the workshop was to review the evidence base regarding lessons learned about successful campaigning, how women are positioned to run successful campaigns, and how development partners might enhance the effectiveness of support provided to women candidates by drawing on and responding to this evidence base. While the workshop focused on the Melanesian context — and Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, in particular — it drew on lessons from other parts of the Pacific islands region and the findings of this synthesis report may be applicable more widely.