Scholarships help tip the balance for Pacific women

New research has found scholarships and persistence are paying off in efforts to get more women in the Pacific into senior government jobs.

RNZ reports the public sector is the largest single employer of women across the Pacific but the research presented to a Commonwealth gathering in Apia on Wednesday shows they are significantly under-represented in the top jobs.

Papua New Guinea reported only 7 percent of its senior government roles were held by women but Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati were performing well with up to 50 percent, according to Nicole Haley of the Australian National University.

"One of the really positive things that we uncovered was that in the case of Tonga the gender profile has changed markedly in the past decade."

"One of the things that had contributed to that was the Public Service Commission actively awarding a disproportionate number of scholarships to women," Nicole Haley said.