12 March 2013 -- Dame Carol Kidu, former Papua New Guinea Minister and female Member of Parliament, guest speaker at ADB's International Women's Day 2013, spoke about the lack of female representation in Asia and Pacific legislatures.
She pointed out that there is a notable commonality between the two subregions and that is, the low percentage of women in their national legislatures. The Asia and Pacific region had a poor record of 18%.
Legislative seats held by women in the Pacific Island's region by itself was 5% (not including Australia and New Zealand). She argued that this poor representation limits women's "voice" in decision-making. Dame Kidu said that the Pacific region was the poorest performing region in this regard and that it was perhaps significant that the Pacific is also the poorest performing region in its Millennium Development Goal scorecard ratings. When women had proper representation in Parliament, this made a difference to the type of legislation and policies produced by government, as they tended to be more inclusive of women's concerns.
Read the speech.