BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
THERE have been positive attitudes towards women participating in politics in Solomon Islands.
In the lead up to the Solomon Island’s National General Election (NGE) in 2014, the Solomon Island Electoral Commission (SIEC) conducted a range of Voter Awareness Programmes (VAPs).
These were designed to enhance voter engagement with the electoral system and improve voter awareness of key electoral issues.
With that, a survey shows there have high number of people in the country supporting the participation of women into politics.
From the People’s Survey, the report indicates positive attitudes towards women as leaders in the Solomon Islands; however this has not lead to significant representation of women in politics.
For example, the 2013 People’s Survey reported that 91 percent of respondents considered woman would be a good leader, while the results of the 2014 NGE showed only 2.7 percent of the population voted for women candidates.
In return, only one female Member of Parliament in a 50 member chamber, the report said.
In this survey, SIEC further explore such gap through investigating attitudes of respondents in relation to the capability of women to be politicians, as compared to men.
The findings resulted with 81 percent of respondents considered women to be as skilled as men at being politicians.
82 percent women respondents reported a similar response rate, and while this is a high proportion, it is not quite as high as results from the 2013 People’s Survey.
The positive response rate to women’s level of skill as being a politician when compared to men was relatively consistent across all provinces.
In identifying what women candidates needed to win in their constituency, respondents most frequently noted that having a reputation for helping accounts to 34 percent and demonstrating good personal attributes is 34 percent were critical.
Of the respondents who said women were not as skilled at being a politician as men, 40 percent said that it was not a woman’s role to be a politician or a leader (this was less than 8 percent of overall respondents).
This was similar among both women (35 percent) and men (45 percent).
Overall, 19 percent of respondents (14 percent of women respondents) felt women were not as capable at being politicians as men simply because of their gender.
This suggests that there are further gender-based issues, particularly in promoting women’s representation in politics, to be addressed within the Solomon Islands.