WOMEN make up almost half of the population of PNG but gender inequality remains a concern despite steps being taken towards achieving equality and women empowerment, according to a Beijing Declaration report.
The PNG national review on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action and the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly in 2014 stated that since 1995, PNG made five major achievements in the promotion of gender equality.
The achievements were:
- political participation of women and women in leadership;
- strategies for combating gender-based violence and assisting survivors, for example, the enactment of the Family Protection Act 2013;
- the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2013 against human trafficking;
- repealing the Sorcery Act 1971 which allows those accused of sorcery-based violence and killings to be prosecuted under the criminal law; and,
- Economic empowerment of women, for example, Women in Business introducing the Women’s Bank, meaning that women are encouraged to save and take out micro loans to start up and expand businesses or venture into business activities.
Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action reaffirms the fundamental principles set in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights.
It stated that the human rights of women and of girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.
In 2014, at the national review meeting, stakeholders and government departments and other relevant authorities agreed that the key priority areas over the next few years would be the focus in effective implementation and incorporation of the numerous gender-sensitive strategies, policies and actions that the government had introduced over the last five years.
The review stated: “More gender budgeting and greater awareness is required in order that gender mainstreaming becomes the norm and is consistently applied across all sectors of government and society.”