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SSGM research seminar

  1. 1. Stories from the Inside… Analysis of Women Councillors’ Experiences & Lessons Learned Dr Tess Newton Cain, PLP Knowledge Dissemination Adviser
  2. 2. KEY POINTS  The impacts of introducing TSM for municipal councils in Vanuatu differ between locations  Political parties are important players & need to be included in reform-focused activities  ‘Training’ needs to focus on ‘doing’ politics as well as on how to be a successful candidate  Dynamic is slow to change from clientilism to policy-led development  Peer learning & support may overcome ‘critical mass’ deficiencies Tess Newton Cain
  3. 3. Background to TSM  Is TSM the best way to improve the level & quality of women’s political participation in the Pacific (or anywhere else)? - open to debate  Evidence suggests that it can have an impact given an appropriate enabling environment (Newton Cain, 2013)  TSM effective in bringing about short-term change. Where political parties are weak but there is some political will, TSM likely to be the only fast track solution (Waring, 2011) Tess Newton Cain
  4. 4. TSM in Vanuatu  3 jurisdictions in the Pacific have used TSM: Bougainville (since 2005 at the ABG level) Samoa (since 2014 for national elections)  Designed to achieve a quota of 30-34% over a period of 16 years (4 election cycles)  C.f. (National) TSM quotas introduced in 2003 Jordan: 5% Rwanda: 35% (Krook, 2014) Tess Newton Cain
  5. 5. Methodology  November 2015: PLP interviewed Luganville women councillors  March 2016: PLP interviewed Port Vila women councillors  10 interviewees  Additional material from interviews with (male) party reps Tess Newton Cain
  6. 6. 6 lessons learned…  Political context can vary significantly within a country  Political parties will make strategic use of critical junctures  Clientilist nature of politics persists at local government level  Political fracturing creates perception of political parties being weak but this is too simplistic  ‘Women-only’ training can have negative impacts  Pre-election training needs to focus on ‘doing’ politics as well as getting elected Tess Newton Cain
  7. 7. Lesson 1: variable political context  Luganville: “Getting into politics is like men’s work, we have to wait for them to approach us. 5 groups approached me and I had to decide”  Port Vila: “I decided to approach the GJP leader if his political party can accept me to stand…in the coming municipality [elections] Tess Newton Cain
  8. 8. Lesson 2: political parties grab opportunities  Luganville – party machineries selected candidates to contest reserved seats  Luganville – party people – men - brought in from Port Vila to do the women candidates’ campaigning “…we adopted it as it will give balance on the council and this year more women contested the elctions. We fielded five in the reserve seats, our candidate is now the Chairperson of the Finance Committee” Tess Newton Cain
  9. 9. Lesson 3: the persistence of clientilism “Before being a councillor you help your family, and now more people come and you start wondering whether you wanted to be a councillor. I think we need to fund raise to pay for what the people need” “…people ask me for school fees, [to] pay for electricity bill, water bill, even pay for the house rent. I pay cemetery fees. For example last year I didn’t enjoy Christmas because I pay [sic] for cemetery fees” Tess Newton Cain
  10. 10. Lesson 4: ‘weak’ political parties? Luganville: Acknowledge that there are shared interests among women but political reality = party interests come first Port Vila: “Yes we are working together, so if one of us finds an opportunity [we] bring it to the council then all of us are working on it…although we represent different political parties” Tess Newton Cain
  11. 11. Lesson 5: ‘sequestered’ training may backfire Port Vila: “The training that we women attended, our male councillors should also attend. That would help both of us male and female councillors to understand our role and work together. Now because only women councillors attended, when we say something our male councillors told us ‘where did I [sic] get that from?’ So it is important for our male councillors to also attend this training so that w can hold each other accountable” Tess Newton Cain
  12. 12. Lesson 6: training requirements  “The training was very helpful but we recommend that there be ongoing training and also follow up with those who were trained and not wait for election years” Tess Newton Cain
  13. 13. Please…  Ask questions  Take copies of our Discussion Paper & Case Study for more information & detail Tess Newton Cain