Women's leadership and participation in formal public and political spheres plays an important role in promoting good governance.

Speaking at the launch of the 'Strategy for Advancing the Position of Women in Government' yesterday, RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George said women, who brought together warring parties and demanded that they lay down their weapons during the tension period, play an important role in the community and within families.

"Women must be supported as they strive to overcome traditional and institutional barriers in order to play a key role in policy and decision-making processes," Mr. George said.

Solomon Islands remain one of only ten countries in the world with no women members of parliament, the RAMSI head stated.

He highlighted that while holding four Permanent Secretary and four Undersecretaries positions in 23 ministries, overall, women hold just six per cent of senior public service positions.

In the last national election, a record of 26 women candidates were nominated from a total of 452 candidates, however, none of these women were elected to Parliament.

In coordination with the Solomon Islands government, RAMSI conducted a research into why women found it difficult to be elected.

The study found many barriers including flaws in the electoral system, discrimination of women candidates, lack of capacity of many women candidates to plan campaign strategies, a culture that defines formal power and public leadership as the preserve of men.

RAMSI hopes that the Women in Government strategy will help address these issues and has provided funding of SBD$3 million for strategy activities.