SIXTY women are gathering in Rarotonga this week to take part in the Cook Islands’ Second Practice Parliament for Women.
Supported by the United Nations Development Programme Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI), the workshop is organized by the Parliament of the Cook Islands, in partnership with the Cook Islands National Council of Women.
UNDP’s Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative is funded by the New Zealand Government.
In opening the workshop this morning, Speaker of Parliament Honourable Niki Rattle, spoke on the importance of equal representation of men and women in politics.
Sharing some of her own experiences, she recognized the difficulties in entering politics but assured participants it was not beyond their reach.
“If you have an inkling you want to be in politics, take a top job in the government or lead an NGO, this is the place for you to be. In the next few days, you are going to learn how to climb that ladder,” Honourable Rattle said.
Looking ahead to International Women’s Day tomorrow, the Speaker highlighted this year’s ‘women in the changing world of work’ theme and introduced participants to the employment opportunities bill they will examine during the Practice Parliament.
New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Peter Marshall in delivering his keynote address encouraged participants to relentlessly pursue their place in politics.
“What we want here today are people with a fire in their belly and high aspirations. Back yourself, put yourself forward and be noticed,” Mr Marshall said.