After years of foreign occupation by Australia and other nations and a period as a League of Nations mandate, the Pacific island of Nauru achieved independence in 1968, becoming the world's smallest independent republic in 1999. By 2008, the entire island had become urbanized. Ethnically, 58 percent of the population is Nauruan, and 27 percent is Pacific Islanders. The island is religiously divided among Nauru Congregationalists (35.4 percent), Roman Catholics (33.2 percent), and Nauru Independent Church (10.4 percent). Suffrage is compulsory for all Nauruans aged 20 years and older, but few women participate in politics. Reports indicate that many women have been intimidated when trying to cast ballots. There are no women in parliament. Feminist scholars have attributed this fact to cultural prejudice that prevents ...

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