Balancing the Power:
Promoting Women’s Political Participation in Fiji Through Temporary Special Measures
Women make up 50% of the world’s population; however still continue to face the challenge of being under-represented in the political arena. In 2006 Fiji’s Parliament was made up of 71 elected House of Representatives and 32 members appointed by Senate, of this total there were 8 women elected to the House of Representatives and 5 women appointed to Senate. Women made up 18.31% of Fiji’s Parliament in 20061.
The Fiji Women’s Forum (FWF) in its inaugural meeting in April 2012 identified four key priority areas that are of concern for women. One of these key priority areas was the promotion of women’s participation in decision making and democratization processes. The FWF agreed that the current democratization process needed to integrate the need for representation of women at all levels. In addition, any new or reformed Constitution must integrate temporary special measures to promote 50% women’s political participation at national and local government levels. Further the FWF also recognized the need to include women in decision making roles within the communities as well.
This paper will examine temporary special measures and the different options that can be used to ensure women’s political participation. In addition it will also highlight best practices in countries that have successfully adopted these different options.