Women Get Three Seats in PNG Parliament

The PNG Parliament is set to increase by 3 seats - for women.The Papua New Guinea Constitution states:

We declare our goal to be for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the development of our country…equal participation by women citizens in all political, economic, social and religious activities.”

Will the 2009 PNG Parliament be the first parliament that votes to give PNG women the ability to contest three seats that will be reserved for women only?

The PNG Parliament is set to increase by three seats after an allocation in the 2009 Budget to allow for three women MPs to be nominated to join the present 109 members – a huge step forward for women representation in the top echelons and corridors of government.

As I was reading the article in The National today it struck me that the process Lady Carol Kidu (Community Development Minister) and Scholla Kakas (National Council of Women President) were outlying seemed a tad bit too complicated – but I guess that is an apt reflection of how hard their crusade has been to finally achieve their goal of women representation in the PNG Parliament.

The PNG Constitution has cemented the platform for women to be involved at a national level with the following outcomes:

  • the appointment of a Woman’s Adviser to the Prime Minster in 1974
  • the creation of a Women’s Unit in the Department of Decentralisation and subsequent appointment of a Women’s Activity Officer in all provinces of PNG
  • the establishment of the National Council of Women under an Act of Parliament in 1979
  • the upgrading of the Women’s Section to Divisional Status in 1983
  • the establishment of the National Women’s Development Programme in 1984
  • the establishment of the National Women’s Policy in 1990
  • the ratification of CEDAW in 1994
  • the Women’s Division Five-Year Management Plan in 1995.

And since 1995? Nothing.

I am hoping that the 2009 PNG Parliament does support our women and gives them an absolute majority two-thirds of the parliamentary vote required to pass the motion.

And congratulations to Lady Carol Kidu and the women of PNG.

~ by Tavurvur on November 25, 2008.

6 Responses to “Women Get Three Seats in PNG Parliament”

  1. This is welcome news for the women of PNG, One of the 8 goals in the Mellinium Development Goals set by UNEP, is to Promote Gender Equality especially focusing on Empowering Women. What better way to show this to the people of PNG and the rest of the world that govt is serious abut the issue, then by setting aside seats purely for women in the haus”man”

    Though some may argue that to be equal women need to contest on an even platform against men, i choose to differ as PNG has gone from stone age to Degital age in such as short time that certain allowances must be made.

    I hope that this issue will get passed though the parliment just as easy as other corrupt bills that get passed.

    If it doesn’t, I hope the wife/wives of these MP’s make their life hell on the homefront.

  2. Thanks for your comment Weast.

    Yes, there have already been calls – and get this, from a WOMAN! (President of Simbu Women in Politics) that PNG women must “work hard” to compete with men on an even platform.

    Well – in 33 years of Independence, there’s only ever been 3 female Parliamentarians and 1 female Cabinet Minister.

    I agree with you, in this case certain allowances must be made. It may be incongruent with the black & white theory of being elected by the masses but surely the fundamental cornerstone of democracy, i.e. the rule of law and equality wins the hand here.

    Parliament is a representation of the people – having 1 current female MP can not be true representation, particularly when the election is heavily biased towards men because of cultural and social constructs.

    Give our women a chance – because honestly, our women can’t do a worse off job than the last 33 years worth of male parliamentarians.

  3. It is encouraging,however, as much as possible we should discourage female in Parliament supporing feminism movement from sprouting.

  4. Too true that PNG election is heavily biased towards men because of cultural and social constructs so where can women vote independently, it is through the National Council of Women, a network in existence since 1979, an enacted body by the Parliament. Twenty years later it is time to appoint women elected by the women to represent them in National Parliament.
    Lady Kidu, it will take a lady of your calibre to do what is right for balance. Hopefully, the nominated members really get down to do serious work( legislative) rather than do activitst work in Parliament.
    Lady Kidu, yu namba wan meri long stetim rot.

    Wanbel istap

  5. Women should not go throught the easy process but rather do what the men do to get elected. I believe the intending candidates should find or form political parties that have very clear and strong policies and really stand for what they believe in. Make themselves and their visions and goals known during the campaign run and wait for the election day itself. Look around the world, countries are ruled by political parties not individuals. Do these women representatives speak like liberals, or are they very nationalistics or are they cool democrates??
    Show us what you have and we’ll decide?

  6. PNG women need to work out a smart strategy pretty fast as to how we are going to get our 3 leaders into Parliament representing and voicing the sufferings of women and children in the country. Women are the backbone of the country. We either make it or break it. Male dominate by culture – although we were created EQUALLY INTELLIGENT by our creator – God. It isn’t Godly to be treated as second class citizens. We need collective and united support nationwide amongst women candidates. If it means candidates forming women political parties before 2012, so be it! UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL! Our Lady Kidu has served her term and I am sure the National Council of Women can recommend and support a PNG “meri” to lead us in the “Haus Man”. We’ve been independent for the past 35 years. Why haven’t we been strong enough to compete with the men? Have we perhaps not read laws/agreements governing equal rights, gender equality written by the UNHCR, UNDP – CEDAW??? Following is abstract from CEDAW AGREEMENT.


    Article 7

    States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right:
    (a) To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies;
    (b) To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;

    (c) To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.

    Article 8
    States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on equal terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to represent their Governments at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.

    end of quote………….

    PNG women need to learn abit more about professionalism so that during election time, we avoid being psyched up by men. We need to stand firm and UNITED in our fight for equal participation rights or gender equality…

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