Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Coordinator and Human Rights Activist Shamima Ali says there is a need for more female political candidates in the upcoming general election.
Ali noted the improvement of FijiFirst and SODELPA in their number of female candidates compared to previous years but says more needs to be done to attract women into leadership positions.
Ali says the Women’s Crisis Centre has opened the door to consultation with political parties about improving women’s rights and party manifestos, but they are yet to hear back from any political party.
According to the 2018 Electoral Commission data, voter turnout for men and women was almost equal with 321,096 (%50.37) male and 316,431 (%49.63) female voters casting their ballots at the last election. Ali says the fact that men and women show up 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 comprising less than one quarter of candidates. Considering the number of female voters in this year’s election, political parties will need to prioritize the female vote.
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