‘Space on the Mat’ in its Pacific context gets its name from the phrase of setting a 'space on the table’. Essentially the idea of the website is to provide a space for discussion on women’s participation in local government and ‘creating a space’ where both women and men’s views are appreciated and acknowledged at decision making levels in local government.
The Space on the Mat website and the Women in Local Government Network (WiLG) are initiatives of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Pacific, initially established during the implementation of a two year project (2009-2010) titled the ‘Strengthening Women’s Participation in Municipal Governance’ (SWPMG) Program. The Program was designed in partnership with the International Women’s Development Agency to integrate gender equality commitments into local government and to enhance visibility, value and level of support for women employed, elected or involved in local government and help add to their numbers.
Since the conclusion of the SWPMG Program, CLGF Pacific has continued with its women and gender in local government program across the Pacific region and uses Space on the Mat as a means of documenting and disseminating information to its network members and others in advancing women’s participation in decision-making at local government level.
CLGF Pacific works with national and local government and other stakeholders in the Pacific region to strengthen local democracy and improve service delivery. Working with central government, city and town councils in ten Pacific Island countries: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. CLGF promotes and encourages regional exchange and capacity building by strengthening institutions and improving service delivery at the sub-national level.