I couldn’t help but helplessly laughed when I read this article titled ‘Petition for Reserve Seats’, with a picture that reads ‘Get the Balance Right! 50 percent women in Parliament’, published in your paper on 28th October, 2019.
Before this, three days ago, the same picture with the same caption was used in an article titled ‘Divided Route to an Uncertain 2020’, written by Mr. Howard Aru. Mr. Aru has nailed it by the head in his article. He has provided a short but very deep analysis of the issue concerning ‘woman’s right’ and etc.
He has made very good comparison with very good arguments of culture, distrusts, lack of leadership qualities, and other fundamentals that are non-existent or are rather displayed by women and women organisations in Vanuatu today.
After reading both articles, I would like to make an appeal to the government and the people of Vanuatu to please reject this petition in its entirety.
It has no merit in our society and is in-fact detrimental to the health of this economy. Our women are educated yet foolish enough to ask for 50 percent reserve seats in the parliament? Makes me wonder.
I support equal opportunity for men and woman, gays and straights, young and old, girls and boys, poor and rich, disables and normal, and etc. Equal opportunity already exists but differential/preferential treatments is what our women are asking and that is unfair, unjust and is a form of discrimination in our diverse populace. Youth groups faces the same problem/challenges as our women, but they didn’t ask for reserve seats. Gays/Lesbians/Tomboys faces even worse, they didn’t ask for reserve seats.
The question to ask is ‘why should we treat women differently than other groups?’ This question was once answered by Miss. Yasmine in her article ‘Why we need to consider reserved seats for women in Parliament’ published on her website www/sista.com.vu.
While I agree to Ms. Yasmine’s reasoning’s, I fail to see Custom and Christianity as the only stumbling block or problem the women in Vanuatu are facing. The main problem is women NOT stepping up to contest.
It is not entirely Custom’s nor Christianity’s problem as maintained by Miss. Yasmin in her well-articulated article.
What the Sista forum or the VNCW should be doing is contacting awareness and educating women on the importance of gender inclusiveness in politics and decision making in Parliament and encouraging women to step up and contest, compete with men in general elections.
If need, ask for budget supports from the governments, select some qualified women and fundraise to provide financial supports for them to contest in the upcoming general elections.
Your network should be designed for women to infiltrate political parties, contest and get as seat in Parliament.
Provide some incentives to motivate women to contest and then provide the evidence and prove to the whole Vanuatu that women are equally capable of leaderships in the highest level in Vanuatu.
Do that first instead of kneeling and begging for special treatment – reserve seats.
Miss Yasmine is correct to say that women are also brainwashed.
This is why we have the national women’s council/organisations set up to deal with internal women issues.
Deal with your issues and then step out into politics. Don’t step outside kitchen and then point out the mess in the kitchen. Clean it before you step outside.
I apologise if the content of this letter is harsh and offensive to our beautiful women out there but as a sister, a woman in Vanuatu, I feel I too has to share my view.