"Given the prevalence of cultural superiority in some of our provinces" is exactly the statement that had women campaigners go for the hard-drive. This is what where change needs to be made. There is no easy way into such request fellows and even if it does by some form of formal reservation for those ten seats, it is still undemocratic.
Soon Solomon Islands will be at its 31st years from it birth as a nation, still face an uphill climb when it comes to governance, reforms and the list goes on ., to the integrity of other core services (sectors) that are seen as components to a fully viable, functional and transparent democratic system and the very fact that these bodies must secure democratic values.
Once upon a time there were these countries; Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Liberia, New Zealand, Argentina, Great Britain and you name them all. They either have existed as democratic nations over centuries without female commandant at their helm or admitted female parliamentarians well over half a century as a result of a long struggle that only made possible by equal education for all. Equal education therein, comes with opportunity of sharing responsibility and sharing responsibility of equal opportunity.
In most communities in Solomon Islands, girls tend to do the dishes while boys mingle around doing nothing or boys go out to play soccer after school while girls sweep the house floor and help mothers clean up the household, go to the gardens, prepare meals etcetera. This traditional role has to be flexible and be able to create room to share or distribute welfare tasks. If this mentality of inflexibility due to traditions and strings (mi man ia.., and iu woman ia .) attached to it that commands our behavioral capability continues to form our being and our society, I can only say this, we are approaching a stone-age period submerged into the 21st century. Life and living in the 21st century is pretty much about education, collective effort of tasking and sharing responsibility.
Only then, you are going to be able to reap the status of your ability to convince, your ability to gain trust, your ability to gain power, your ability to play the role just as someone else has done in the past or even better given the advancement we are in today.
Preserving ten seats for women in parliament is not only undemocratic but illegal, depriving of one's equal right to free act (neither reservation nor preservation) to voting, stealing of legally binding vote-count thus, intentionally removing voter/s as citizens for alien rights, and self detrimental as signs of hopelessness and rotten solution to the integral function of our democratic system building.
One can contribute but in my own view and I quote: "Given the prevalence of cultural superiority in some of our provinces" is the major problem in our society but giving a short cut answer to allocate the ten seats in parliament to the women campaigners is not the solution. After all this is not going to happen in a short term as it is the case in many democratic nations around the world.
Why cannot we Solomon Islands men and boys see women and girls as integral of ourselves or vice versa? What is so difficult about extending our hands and play the roles our tradition put on their (women/girls) shoulders? If we have made us ourselves adaptive to life as it comes, as this has been the core of every Christian teachings heard every day in churches, I see no reason why women cannot gain status in our society or why we cannot vote for them. Indeed we have a problem of men dominant society. But we can change it in the long run as education continues to take its toll. This is a success everywhere.
If we can only start from here with the input brought about by equal education, equal opportunity and equal responsibility, I believe women would not have seek such a short cut solution given the fact that we have just had 30 years of birth behind us. Democracy is a dynamic and a variable system depending on time where the evolution events and progresses are directly influence by development, now a day globalization. Unlike, other system, changes come every five to ten years in countries where democratic system is matured and in countries such as Solomon Islands, yes we can, it is gradual a change, it will take many more years before we will fill in the gap, including having women parliamentarians and the eventual enactment of a woman as a head of state or as prime minister.
Sorry but men and boys need to adapt to new role in our society in this modern time to craft and help modern advancement finds its way to coexist along treasures of our culture and possibly replace some of our traditional habits in our society. The only effective tool for this is education and literacy. No short cut Period! We don't need to force bananas to get ripe so quickly as yet.
Women And Parliament
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of James P Taisie and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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