Hello, hope you had an awesome weekend. On this blog, I’d like to share an update to a previous blog post on a bill for women seats in the FSM Congress.
But, before we continue, Congratulations are in order for all the athletes, organizers and the people of Micronesia for having an awesome MicroGames 2018!
Back to the present
I wrote a blog post a couple of months back on Non-voting seats for women in FSM congress. That was in April of this year. It is July and I have an update. I can’t say that it is GOOD news, it is an update to the non-voting seats bill. During the fourth special session of the 20th FSM Congress, bill no. 20-218 was introduced:
To propose an amendment to the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, for the purpose of guaranteeing the representation of women in Congress by creating additional at large seats in Congress reserved for women, as a temporary special measure, and for other purposes, and for other purposes.
Good, right? Just to refresh your memory on the original bill. It’s purpose was the same as above. The first bill proposed to have two year seats for women, with no voting rights. Basically a seat in the FSM congress. Literally, just a seat. Here comes a new version of the same bill introduced by Vice Speaker Esmond Moses this time. Here are the differences:
Members elected on the basis of state equality serve a 4-year term, and female members elected on the basis of state equality shall also serve a 4-year term[,]. [And] [a]All other members [for] shall serve a 2-year term [years]. Each member has one vote except on the final reading of bills. Female members elected on the basis of state equality shall have full voting rights
and shall be appointed as committee members and may participate in discussion and debate.
Here is a different, maybe better version of the first bill? The seat is now a 4-year term, female members have full voting rights, they can be committee members and participate in discussion and debate. Looks great? My only question is the bold section there, where each member has one vote except on the final reading. Also, both bills are temporary special measures. The first bill expired in 25 years, and this second bill in eight years.
I’ve said this on my podcast and I’ll say it again. As it stands, if a woman is elected to the FSM congress now, she will have all the rights and privileges of any member. This bill, while allowing for seats, still has restrictions. It’s better than the first one though. Maybe the next one will get it right? Or… a woman will win a seat, not a seat created as a temporary special measure.
It’s very possible, we now have many women in leadership positions in all areas of the government and private sector. Times are a-changing.