Working Session: Women and Politics in Polynesia: Gender Imbalances in Authority on Land Tenure, Chiefly Titles and Political Offices
Organizers: Melani Anae and Serge Tcherkezoff
Even though the traditional Polynesian systems of social organisation are often mentioned as an exception in the large place of authority that women can exercise in matters of extended family organisation, land tenure and inheritance, and even chiefly offices, a clear imbalance between access given to women versus access given to men is prevalent, and is deepening with the current evolution of land tenure and political systems. In Samoa for instance, a number of cases reveal the limitations imposed on women, as varied as the right for women to hold a chiefly clan title (matai), or to keep an authority over the land if they are living on their husbands' land etc. This panel would analyse a number of varied cases of these limitations, as well as discussing some possible legal or customary regulations that could put in place "affirmative" distinctions, up to the extreme case in place in the French Pacific with the "Parity law" for candidacies in political offices.
An informal session was held in 2020. Our session is entitled..."in Polynesia", as we wished to avoid entering from the start into a too broad areal comparison. But please feel free to join the session even if your work is situated outside Polynesia. During our "informal" discussion, we were able all together to discuss how we can view the future limitations, if any, of this panel at a "working session stage". Probably there would be more to compare between Polynesia with Micronesian and Eastern Melanesian societies (Fiji, Vanuatu, (Kanaky-) New Caledonia, etc.), than with Western Melanesian, but we wish to leave the area limits open to those who wish to commit to an abstract/paper contribution at this session where we will discuss what we wish to propose as your contribution.
Proposals could perhaps address the following:
How can the equality of equal representation through the law on parity (a formal mechanism) as yielding “remarkable results” in France in securing mayoral positions or seats in the French Senate apply to Pacific political contexts/situations? How is political parity played out in the Pacific?
For more information, please contact Melani Anae, University of Auckland <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Serge Tcherkezoff <email@example.com>