I have keenly followed the discussion online and wish to contribute to the discussion.
TSM is a result of a cross breed between CEDAW and NCW dressed in an elegant robe white on the inside contrasted with an unidentified colour, neither black nor white on the outside. This metaphor summarises my personal perspective on TSM.
1. The essence of the 'Women in Parliament' debate is neither politically-driven nor gender-based. It is rather about empowerment which is the outcome of a successful gender discourse by CEDAW and NCW in the past on gender equality. It is a celebrated effort by these women organisations which inevitably indicates effective programme implementation. It reveals to some degree a mental transformation within the population, with both men and women. TSM is a celebrated action to the discourse. At present, pro-TSM are riding an idealistic and emotional wave of change. This begs the question, 'How effectively does CEDAW and NCW dress this concept for realistic application by practitioners?' It brings me to the next point.
2. TSM is evidently overdressed with empowerment and gravely overlooked the sublte touches that makes this concept truly elegant and locally owned. While it claims to be the voice for women, it lacks vision and strategy to be effective. While it generates change within a cohort of women and men, it lacks rhythym with the wider society. While it is novel, it is also irrational. While it is genuine it lacks authencity from the records of past contenders, of whom few a genuine contenders while others are obviously not. This exposes the missing part of what CEDAW and NCW could have done; the contextual framing of the concept of gender equality for local application.
3. The opportunity to be a representative voice for the people at the highest level of decision making is a noble aspiration for any leader and I must salute the womens' election contenders so far. A question that any election contender must be asked is that, 'do I unreservedly believe that I am the best candidate to lead the people that are my followers?' Alot of factors are crucial in this regard; competency, culture, societal values, health, familiy values and priorities to name a few. In this context, the TSM is irrelevant for consideration. I am inclined to believe that there is no reason to hasten the process, but to find the rhythym within the society to move forward, and it takes time. Women can be in politics if they recognise the right way to do it and seize the opportunity when it is presented. We have Victoria Oloratavo who joined the Western Province Assembly right when this issue is in the spotlight. Women need to be patient, and work smarter to create the right enabling environment. In Tasmania (Australia), a well developed state, the issue is the same, women still face the issue of unequal representation in their highest level of decision making. I am therefore inclined to believe that there is no justification to hasten the process, but to work smarter to create better opportunities if not for 2010 elections, then do it for future generations!
Good luck for all women contenders for 2010 and God bless SI.
TSM for women in Parliament
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Kristina Fidali-Hickie and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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