I write in fact to respond to some of the argument expressed here by Denton.
In fact I support the participation of women in parliaments but through the current democratic system in our country which is a fair and acceptable to the whole society as a whole. Giving away 10 seats for women without following the procedure that men follows is unfair and in reality it discriminates against men. This is because the current electoral system does not prevent women from not contesting.
Our constitution clearly stated that Women and men can contest in the election as long your reach the age 21. I would not really agree with you that women have higher standards of ethical behavior and that guaranteed they will behave the same way up there. This is because there are women who had been imprisoned for unethical behavior or even corruption in our country. Such statements are only generalize statements and can only occur and worked at certain level at certain times at certain societies. With the culture of wantok system we had brought with, I don't think such finding 'that women have higher standards of ethical behavior' would really demonstrate at the higher political level. This is because some of them (Women) practice unethical behavior at the lower workplace level.
The argument you made that women really know well the needs and wants of women is not a good reason why they should be given a 10 seats. In fact our representative to parliaments already knows the important needs of our different society and constituencies. The need of women in urban centers might be defer from the need of women in the rural areas. I understand that all successive government always adheres to those needs you mentioned. For example we have laws about Divorce case; we have laws that can prohibit those who practicing rape and our government are working closely with donor partners such EU establishing such water projects in the village level. In fact these are not women issues alone, its community issues and I do not see that the government had neglected those issues.
Different people have different perspective and I in support with other contributors to this issue that setting quotas for women is in fact discriminate against men because it was the men who will struggle to secure a seats while women can easily secure a seat. As you said Solomon Islands a country that have a culture and we also do not want to loose our culture that we brought up with. It's our own identity. The traditional system of big man system had influence the western form of democracy as male also become dominant in the western democratic system. The Big Man System is one of the cultures that had deeply rooted within our Melanesian societies. I think it's hard to change the culture that we had practiced for hundreds of years overnight. It has to be gradually evolved by itself following the shifting of our mentality of thinking towards women. I understand that so far the barriers towards women is continue to alleviate as we have more capable women taking up higher political post such Permanent Secretaries in our country.
I hope that in the future more capable and qualified women can secure parliamentary seats in parliament. Because women making up almost half of the population is a valid reason that they should be given quotas freely. Women have to prove their capability that they can do it and should contest alongside with men. I think that encouraging women to contest is just like deceiving women that they would win the election. The choice to contest should leave alone to individual women who feel they have guts to compete and won the election. If Hilda Kari had proved herself in the past I hope other women can proved them too.
Lastly, Democracy is not a system that we had brought up with its foreign flower. Thus not all the sentiments of western democracy will all work well in our society and also we are not preparing to give in some of our cultural values overnight. In facts what is happened in the Solomon Islands or even in the Pacific is a compromised democracy where western and traditional system contrasting.
As I mentioned in my previous article, whether it will be male dominant or women, or balance, our country needs leaders who are determine, have good platform to move the country forwards and protect our country's sovereignty as it was an indication of an independent state.
10 seats for women
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Baddley Tau and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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