The leadership line up in the Cook Islands News Pacific Islands Forum Supplement on Saturday and again at the opening of the Forum yesterday was a sad gender affair. PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa of Samoa was the only woman leader.
As Nic Maclellan
pointed out in Islands Business on November 4, there is “a notable retreat of
women from top leadership positions across the region. The days when three
women led the Forum Secretariat – Meg Taylor, Cristelle Pratt and Andie Fong
Toy – are long gone. Role models like Dr. Hilda Heine and Jacinda Ardern have
lost office, while key officials like Anna Naupa of the Pacific Fusion Centre
and Forum Fisheries Agency Director-General Manu Tupou-Roosen are ending their
terms of office”. What will this mean for gender issues in the Pacific, and at
the Forum? Is there even an acknowledgement that this Forum is very much a male
Of course, there are
many women at the Forum, playing important roles, but they are not making the
There is some hope,
however. The third item on the Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity Initiatives
is Reinvigorating Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED). Launched
at the 2012 PIFLM in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, the Pacific Leaders’ Gender
Equality Declaration gave rise to an increasing emphasis on gender. It is
imperative that reinvigorating the PLGED provide the impetus to meet
commitments made in 2012. The Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity has put
forward the following proposal: This partnership seeks to have a renewed
commitment by PIF Leaders to strengthening Gender Equality in the Pacific.
But will this actually
happen? And how will the lack of women in leadership positions be rectified?
Te Puna Vai Marama, the Cook Islands Centre for Research
Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel on 08/11/2023
E te tuahine Te Puna Vai Marama, nga mihi nunui mo tenei panui. E tika ana to korero - kei hea nga wahine rangatira ki waenganui tenei roopu teitei rawa? E tika ana kia whakama me te pouri!
Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel