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Women's Participation in Suku Level Governance

Overview

Through long term and sustained efforts, many positive changes have been brought about for women in Timor-Leste. This report from Plan International, Patria and FADA Association investigates the current level of participation of women in suku (village) level governance, and how existing positive shifts may be further applied.

This study recognises the hard fought achievements that women have gained, and seeks to contribute to future socio-political improvements in Timor-Leste. 

Decision-making at the suku level, and within the suku council is often the responsibility of tradi-tional leaders and women are often completely excluded from these processes, and are at best passive observers. Women also have a low level of understanding of national laws that protect their rights, including domestic violence legislation.

Domestic violence has serious negative impacts on all members of the family, especially women and children. The majority of cases continue to be referred to community leaders, who have a strong preference for cases to be ‘resolved’ through traditional mechanisms. 

This report also makes recommendations how women and girls can increase their participation in community decision-making and reduce levels of gender-based domestic violence.