Vanuatu Director of Women's Affairs- Dorosday Kenneth Watson (white dress) with women Councillors in Port Vila.

Vanuatu Director of Women’s Affairs- Dorosday Kenneth Watson (white dress) with women Councillors in Port Vila.

Congratulations Ms. Dorosday Kenneth Watson on being nominated for the 2012 U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. In announcing her nomination, U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Catherine Ebert-Gray said, “Dorosday has been at the forefront of gender issues in Vanuatu for several years. It is because of her efforts, that women in Vanuatu are finally becoming empowered in the political, economic, and civic arenas.”

PLP has had the privilege of working with Ms Kenneth Watson in her role as Director of Women’s Affairs and leading our Women in Shared Decision Making (WISDM) Coalition to increase women’s representation at all levels of political leadership and decision making. PLP also implements an ongoing research program, including action research and analysis of lessons learned, to inform WISDM/DWA, DFAT and other actors on ongoing support in this area.

A key success has been WISDM’s successful lobbying for amendments to the Decentralisation and Municipalities Act (2013) to include reserved seats for women. Since this Act was passed, ten women have been elected to municipal councils in Port Vila, Efate and Luganville. WISDM is now lobbying government officials and parliamentarians to maintain between 30 to 34 percent reserved seats for women in Vanuatu’s upcoming provincial elections.

PLP also works with WISDM and DWA to facilitate a learning exchange program between Port Vila and Luganville women councillors in March . The first of its kind, the program provides a ‘safe space’ to share challenges and ideas, and helps build women’s networks and skills to effectively occupy elected leadership roles.

Click  for the story on the award.

Click  to view the Discussion Paper on our analysis on the experiences  of women Councillors in Luganville and Port Vila.