Women Get Three Seats in PNG Parliament
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.