Vanuatu women petition PM and start new political party

Vanuatu women are urging the government to ensure even gender representation in parliament.

A petition signed by women leaders from across Vanuatu was last week submitted to government, asking it to enact a fifty per cent quota for women's representation in parliament.

There are currently no female MPs in the 52-seat national parliament, and only five women MPs have been elected since Vanuatu gained independence in 1980.

The head of the National Council for Women Leiasmanu Cullwick said, traditionally, men told their wives who to vote for.

"It's now high time for the men to understand that we were created equal with them. And also we have the right to sit with them to make decisions on how best to run this country to ensure that the future is safe for our children," Leiasmanu Cullwick said.

Leiasmanu Cullick said a new women's political party called Leleon Vanua has been formed by the Coalition for Gender Equity in Parliament to help direct efforts on the issue.