November 25, 2022

It’s never enough until there are 50% female political candidates – Shamima Ali

It’s never enough until there are 50% female political candidates – Shamima Ali

Shamima Ali, coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center and human rights activist, says there is a need for more female political candidates in the upcoming general elections.

Ali noted the improvement of FijiFirst and SODELPA in their number of female candidates compared to previous years, but said more needs to be done to attract women to leadership positions.

Ali says the Women’s Crisis Center has opened the door to consultation with political parties on improving women’s rights and party manifestos, but they have yet to hear from any political parties.

According to 2018 Electoral Commission data, voter turnout for men and women was nearly equal with 321,096 (%50.37) men and 316,431 (%49.63) women voters voting in the last election. Ali says that the fact that men and women are going to the polls in equal numbers should be reflected in the number of female candidates in this election.

In the 2018 elections, only 56 of the 235 candidates were women, representing less than a quarter of the candidates. Given the number of women voters in this year’s elections, political parties will need to prioritize women’s votes.