The Highest Glass Ceiling — Women, Politics and Executive Power in the Pacific

Kerryn Baker

In January 2016, President of Marshall Islands Casten Nemra was defeated in a no-confidence motion after just one week in office, the shortest tenure in Marshallese history. The following day, more history was made as Dr Hilda Heine was elected with 24 votes by the 33-seat Nitijela as Marshall Islands’ first female president.

In many ways, Heine fits the mould of female parliamentarians in the Pacific, who tend to be highly educated, members of politically connected families and have a background in the public service. Heine was the first Marshallese person to earn a doctorate degree, from the University of Southern California in 2004. The Heine family have been ‘formative participants in the shaping of the future of the Marshall Islands’ and several members are currently active in Marshallese politics.

As well as holding high-ranking positions in the public service and at the College of the Marshall Islands, Heine was one of the founders of Women United Together Marshall Islands, a high-profile Marshallese women’s organisation. Yet she is also a groundbreaking figure in Pacific history, as the first woman to be elected head of government of a Pacific independent state.

This In Brief looks at the significance of Heine’s achievement in the context of the study of Pacific women in politics.

There are no downloads available
Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 21, 2021
Published in
explore similar papers

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

What are you looking for?

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Filter by Categories

Sort by Categories

Filter by Year

Sort by Year

Filter by Review Status

Sort by Review

Filter by Country

Sort Country Popup