BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
EXCLUSION of women from political and decision making positions has been a challenge to active political engagement in Solomon Islands, says Dr Alice Pollard.
Mrs Pollard said the exclusion of women from political leadership and decision making positions is a serious and critical matter for all.
“Our absence at the key Political leadership speaks volumes, it is our core business and that is why we are sitting here today,” she said.
Pollard said the story of the Solomon Islands Political history shows that women’s political journey is one struggle, yet of persistence and remaining hopeful.
She said figures have shown that women’s political participation is low, it stated that we have only had four successful female candidates in our story and currently four successful female provincial members of three different assemblies.
“Our absence at these key political leadership positing means that our voices cannot be heard and therefore we are not involved in any debate on issue that affect our lives, issues that are dear to us women will not be placed are priority issues on any governments agenda and also indicates that the budget of attending to women’s issues receives low priority and low resourcing,” said Pollard.
She said it also means that women are ill-informed about government service’s and its program in which sometimes women become recipients of second hand information and poor power sharing and unequal decision-making which is thus pro males.
Pollard adds, the way forward to address these challenges is women must first deal with their ‘selves’.
“Change must first begin with us, we need to change our lenses. Change your lenses and put on a new pair of lenses. The way we see only men to be fit for the public domain or public space and we see women to be for the private domain needs to be changed today.
“Because our discriminatory perspective of women and men affects our choice of candidates and voting patterns,” she said.
Pollard said women are also fearful to participate due to the way they see their selves as unfit, uneducated, don not have funds or bring negative of their selves.
“Therefore I encourage us to work together and support each other in a new way with a new vision and rally together, actively participating together on issues that deeply concerned about women and get involved,” said Pollard.