This article will twist some guts and boil some blood especially as it is coming from me, and the political party I am affiliated to is in power at the moment, but you know, it’s better you hear this from me and get mad at me than hear this from someone else. Here goes my thoughts on the matter of reserved seats for Vanuatu Women in Parliament.
With only a population of less than 300,000, why would we need to reserve seats? Is the effort in getting women into Parliament killing someone so we need to find a shortcut? Women are very important in our society and the question here would be, are we really prepared to degrade them further and undermine all their efforts in trying to be part of the decision making body of this beautiful country by saying “We have heard your cries, we have thought about it, and now approved your entry into Parliament by providing you reserve seat”
Ok, so while you are at it, why don’t you hand the chiefs of this country a reserved seat since they work for free every year trying to keep the peace. They have tried to get into parliament too, and are a minority peacekeepers by profession so why don’t we give them a chance to lead inside the Parliament? What say you? What about the “Youth’s”? They spearheaded a lot of campaigns, won quite a big number too, but are the most disadvantaged group in the country in terms of opportunities, progress and developments? There are a few in Parliament, how about we give them a “reserved percentage” to guarantee their MP’s are elected without too much of a hassle.
What about the Gay and Lesbians? They have been treated so badly lately, how about we allocate a reserved seat to them too? Oh the picture of this is not so nice after all. We wouldn’t want one of them into parliament but wait a minute, they are part of us too and have faced a lot of persecution and criticism too. Treat people right, and anything concerning women must be considered a right thing to do, and the right thing to do would be for Party Presidents to say “lets put a woman to run here, lets have another woman there, let us have two women candidates there and these are the women who will represent our political party”
Allocate them seats inside political Party’s to show the world that in Vanuatu, men can talk about Change and act for Change and in Vanuatu our leaders do not degrade women by providing them reserved seats, they nominate women as candidates for an election. Give a woman what she deserves because it is important to society but do not give something to a woman because it is what she has been asking for but will in the process degrade her status as a woman leader.
If you think your mother is important to you then do not treat a woman as a second class citizen by giving her a reserve seat, give her that first seat to show her that yes she has truly given birth to leaders in Vanuatu. The challenge here would be to see how many leaders would truly value a woman for what she is and to how many would treat a woman right given the opportunity.
All our women are protected by Chapter 2 of the constitution, so when you “reserve” a woman a seat, what happens to her “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual”? Have we thrown this completely away? This paints a crucial picture on all political party leadership as at times it is the leadership that is the obstacle to progress of women.
A lot of fathers want the best for their daughters. I will never say yes to my daughter getting a reserved seat as I know she deserves the same as me. I know my daughter must be treated right, and I know my daughter must be respected as she has the same rights as me in this country. Only a man without a mother would allow her daughter to be treated less and in Vanuatu, we believe we are all born from a woman and not from a tree.
Vanuatu women know the Parliament, there will be time for them to get into Parliament. We also must remember, the women of Vanuatu are not second grade to get the “RESERVED SEAT” Give them the “FIRST SEAT” and allow them to be part of Parliament, by facing the challenges, by facing the opponents, by winning the sweet victory of a political election and become true leaders duly elected by merit. There is no “RESERVED” in “EQUALITY” and we need to be really CLEAR on this. YUMI TOKTOK STRET!!
The current director for Yumi Toktok Stret. A strong advocator for the “internet” as a tool to support good governance. Currently promoting the internet as the tool to drive change and believes “media must play a better role in educating society”
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