Tuesday, 14 April 2009 8:58 AM

10 Parliamentary Seats for Women - Detone's insightful views

Dear Editor,

Allow me space to respond to some of the views shared by Detone from Suva. Here are my responses;

(1) Detone asserted that studies had shown that women have a positive effect on governance due to their higher standards of ethical behavior and concern for the common good. The question I would like to put across is, does that generalization also apply to women in Solomon Islands; are they part of the research? And lest Detone forgot, women are already part of the public service and are not prevented from entering politics. The general public concern is about those 10 Parliamentary seats. Do not get me wrong, even though we want women Parliamentarians, we however want them to enter parliament through a level voting system, and not through such special treatments.

(2) No-one is disputing the TI and Alice Pollard et al. findings. We have an ever increasing women's presence in the public service at the moment, holding positions from Permanent Secretaries to departmental heads. There are also other positions held by women in the public sector that ensure they participate in matters of good governance. You can make your analyses on their performance so far in their respective ministries and deparments.

(3) On the issue of outdated laws, we should leave that to the Law Reform Commission to deal with (see Kabui's insight on this in the star). I am sure they have more than their fair share of female lawyers within the law reform section. Women issues should not be treated as a leeway to give a certain quota of seats to women in Parliament. Remember, the bulk of the law (and amendments) are not usually prepared by Parliamentarians.

(4) Detone's third point illustrate the need for women to have their fair share in parliamentary representation. Again the cultural argument is raised. The cultural argument itself is flawed in the sense that there are communities in Solomon Islands that recognized women leadership. Its not culture that dictate men to assume responsibility in the place of women in these societies, rather its reluctance of women to assume to positions in these societies that prompted men to take over the leadership position. And to label to need to educate people on the 'role of women' as a 'waste of time' is politically insensitive. Remember, in politics the sovereign lies with the people, and the people get to decide who the power is vested in - and to give such quotas to a particular group does not reflect that. It's a cheap shot at entering Parliament without the people's mandate.

(5) Finally Detone's assertion that full democracy will only be achieved when women involve and participate in sufficient numbers in politics and government is flawed. Women had participated in politics since independence, and had consecutively voted in 'male leaders'. This should be the area we should be focusing on.

To conclude, I would like to point out that true democracy ends the day a certain group is given special political rights than others. Likewise, it would be unfair to give to a particular group two voting rights compared to the other group.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Malaii Maesilia and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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