Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Aiding women candidates in Solomon Islands: suggestions for development policy

By Terence Wood

This article discusses the poor performance of women candidates in Solomon Islands elections and potential aid policy responses. The article outlines women candidates’ performance, details challenges faced by women, examines existing aid work designed to help women candidates and provides policy suggestions. The article argues that existing aid policy focused on candidate training and voter education has achieved little because the main impediments women candidates face are access to finance and local gatekeepers, alongside more subtle normative constraints. These are barriers that are not easily shifted by training or education programs. Meanwhile, for reasons of political economy, another area of aid-supported engagement, a parliamentary gender quota, is unlikely to be enacted. Reflecting this, and the nature of the challenges women candidates face, the article recommends donors also undertake work to help prospective women candidates engage with communities over time, building ties and reputations as providers of assistance.

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