Recent policy and academic writing on women in the Pacific has focused on the barriers women in the region experience when seeking to participate in formal politics. This paper contributes to the small body of work that seeks to explain how some women defy these barriers, are elected to parliament and achieve high office.
The paper focuses on the experiences of three women: President Hilda Heine from the Marshall Islands; the Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa from Samoa; and Dame Carol Kidu from Papua New Guinea. All have won senior leadership positions in their respective governments. As the ‘first’ women to reach the apex of parliamentary politics in the Pacific, their stories offer valuable insights for donors and other reformers seeking to address gender imbalance both in the Pacific and beyond.
Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), University of Birmingham 2018