Women make up just six percent of candidates for Solomon Islands election

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission has revealed the number of women candidates running at the 2024 national election will be just six percent of the total number of candidates contesting, lower than the previous election in 2019. 

Chief Electoral Officer, Jasper Anisi told RNZ Pacific there are 334 registered candidates for the 17 April joint elections, and only 21 of them are females. In 2019, there were 26 women candidates running. 

Anisi said the vetting of candidates was completed Wednesday before a final list is made public. 

Solomon Islands has historically had low female representation in politics and the 2024 election will see a continuation of poor women’s representation in national politics, an situation that is a Pacific-wide concern. 

Last month, the SIBC reported that in four and a half decades of independent governance, only 16 women have been voted into provincial assemblies and six into Parliament. 

Just four of the 52 MPs in the last Parliament were female and 2019 was the first time for two women candidates to be elected to Parliament in a general election

According to election watchers, Solomon Islanders believe there should be more women MPs, but “women continue to face significant barriers to equal political participation”. 

The previous government – now in caretaker mode – has proposed for new legislation that would establish temporary special measures (TSM) to guarantee additional seats for women in Provincial Assemblies. 

However, whether that will realise will depend on the incoming administration.