Jenny Ligo

“When there is a successful man, there is a successful woman behind him and when there is a successful woman, there is a successful man behind her.

“I believe that gender equality is not about women but about both men and women so that if my husband decides to contest then I must stand up to support him because gender equality is not a propaganda for women but about fair sharing”.

Gender equality advocator, Jenny Ligo speaks up now with 2020 election year nearing while women leaders are also preparing themselves to compete against the men in the polls next year.

She says fighting hard to support women into parliament is good but if women do not get the support of the men then it is worthless because she insists that women cannot work in isolation of their men to succeed.

With 2020 general election approaching, for the second time Mrs Ligo is appealing to all potential women candidates to consider aligning themselves under the umbrellas of current political parties to contest.

Looking back into the history of all five elected female former members of parliament including the late Maria Crowby, they were all elected under existing male-dominated political parties.

Mrs Ligo says women have to establish open communication with their husbands and the executive committees of political parties to win their confidence.

She says it is possible for more women political candidates to win under existing political parties because it has been proven that it is the best possible way to win under the current political parties.

Speaking as an advocator for gender equality regarding the much talked about “reserved seat” category, which was created by the former Moana Government for the benefit of women, she says Port Vila and Luganville Municipalities have both applied the practice.

But is there another way to promote the participation of women in parliament?

“While we acknowledge the Moana Carcasses Government for its proactive initiative, personally I was a strong advocator for the reserved seat and I went as far as the UN and I represented women in training and workshops and international forums and meetings to support women, I have come to believe that the country has achieved its political maturity”, she says.

“Five women candidates had won their seats in male dominated current political parties by winning the confidence of their menfolk”, she recalls.

“We should maintain this political spirit in the current political parties.

“However some of us women are determined to sever this political partnership and plot their own way.

“While they have their right to do that, so far their efforts have not succeeded until today. Literally put, women do not have the energy, resources and time to paddle their own canoe in this coming election”.

Asked to comment on the remaining length of time before 2020 election, she replies, “Time is running out and I appeal to you women who are affiliated to political parties, to please continue to promote them because they have proved themselves in past political elections and the country’s voters know them.

“I appeal to all women supporters of political parties to strengthen Women’s Wings in those parties and lure all young women to become members to strengthen the voting capacity of women”.

Asked to give some advice to women, she replies, “Look around you starting in your home, your husband must support you and together you start looking outside to target your families for their support and go beyond to develop your support base.

“Do not speak up front on your own because today globally, we promote the family spirit and walk and work hand in hand with our men to promote unity and partnership, not as an individuals but as a global family”.

Meanwhile the population of Vanuatu stands at approximately 50/50 for both men and women.

If that is the case then what is wrong with women? “Perhaps women are not united and often we talk about a male dominated society but it is not true in the home as husbands talk to their wives and vice versa so gender equality is already alive in the home”, she argues.

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