Tuesday, 12 July 2011 8:11 AM

PM Committed to Reserved Seats for Women

The Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs is looking to consult more widely with women's groups in the push to establish seats reserved for women in parliament.

The Prime Minister Danny Philip reiterated his commitment to addressing the lack of women MPs through legislation during his Independence Day speech last week.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Ethel Sigimanu, says Mr Philip wants temporary special measures in place by the end of his term.

Mrs Sigimanu says there's a need for more education about why reserved seats are necessary.

"We certainly will ride on what the Prime Minister has said, you know capitalise on that and we're hoping that the public will be behind us because I think members of parliament who pass laws also listen to their constituents so we need to do a lot of work at the rural level."

Ethel Sigimanu says the ministry's engaged a consultant to review the approach taken during previous efforts to create reserved seats.

Although women make up at least 50% of the Solomon Islands population there is currently no women in Parliament.

The only woman in parliament since the Solomon Islands attained Independence in 1978 is Hilda Kari. She has since retired from politics, although still remains active in advancing women's issues.

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