Intersecting Identities, Divergent Views: Interpreting the Experiences of Women Politicians in the Pacific Islands


In this article we test [assumptions] by asking how women experience holding public office in the Pacific Islands. We identify two divergent narratives. The first aligns with the orthodox assumption where prevailing patriarchal norms stymie the influence of women MPs. In this narrative, gender provides a powerful explanation for why the experience of women MPs differs from their male counterparts. The second, however, is a counternarrative that defies the conventional feminist reading and instead posits that gender matters little once inside parliament. From this perspective, other identities, including those related to family, religion, and social status, assume greater prominence and help these women make sense of why their experiences are often similar to male MPs. To interpret this duality we employ the concept of “intersectionality” and argue that this theoretical lens provides for a more nuanced reading of gender and politics in the Pacific region.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 21, 2021
Published in
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