The Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) is committed to table the proposed amendment to the Provincial Government Amendment Bill (PGAB) 2018 that will establish temporary special measures (TSM) to guarantee additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies in the first Parliament Seating of the 12th Parliament.
The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) on 29th December 2023 through Cabinet made a landmark decision and endorsed a proposed amendment to the Provincial Government Amendment Bill (PGAB) 2018 that will establish temporary special measures (TSM) to guarantee additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs Dr Cedrick Alependava said ‘This is history in-the-making, a milestone achievement for every Solomon Islands woman.
He said the Ministry especially the Women’s Development Division together with the Ministry of Provincial Government & Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) and their partners expresses their sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister and the DCGA for their leadership and their desire to see politics in the Solomon Islands become more inclusive of women.
“Politics has always been seen as a man’s space for various reasons which has historically resulted in the low representation and participation of women in politics both at National and Provincial Level,” he said.
Since Independence, for 45 years, only six (6) women has ever been voted into Parliament. At Provincial Assembly Level only sixteen (16) women have ever been voted into Provincial Assemblies at different terms. The proposed TSM Amendment to the PGAB 2018 intends to address this historically underrepresentation and participation of women in Provincial Assemblies.
The TSM endorsement by Cabinet was the result of approximately six (6) years of work led by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Ministry of Provincial Government & Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) and partners: Women’s Rights Action Movement (WRAM), Solomon Islands National Council of Women (SINCW) and the Honiara City Council (HCC).
The work carried out included conducting awareness and consultations on the proposed TSM amendment to the Provincial Government Amendment Bill 2018 with all nine Provincial Assemblies and Executives; rural communities across all nine Provinces; women groups and women leaders; and relevant government ministries and agencies.
The nation-wide awareness and consultations showed strong support for the proposed TSM Amendment including all nine Provincial Assemblies who gave their official support through Assembly Conclusion Papers.
Caretaker Minister for MWYCFA, Honorable Freda Rangirei Rotutafi in her statement after Cabinet endorsement last December said ‘The use of TSM as a strategy to guarantee the additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies has been one of the DCGA’s commitment to advancing gender equality in Solomon Islands.
She said the DCGA Cabinet endorsement is our fulfilment of this commitment and therefore a cause for celebration for all women of this country and especially those who aspire to become political leaders.
“My Ministry is very happy to be able to fulfil this policy commitment on behalf of the DCGA.
“We also would like to sincerely thank all the nine Provincial Assemblies for their consistent support to this work over the past six years. We thank also all the women, men and youth leaders in our rural communities who have supported the consultations and expressed their support for TSM providing the much-needed evidence to support the proposed TSM amendment’
The Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and its partners would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Government for their financial and technical support in enabling the TSM awareness and consultations to reach the rural and remote areas of Solomon Islands.