By HELEN TARAWA
THE fact that no woman has been elected to parliament in the general election means that 50 per cent of the population is not represented in the nation’s legislative body, a United Nations official says.
United Nations Development Programme assistant resident representative (governance) Julie Bukikun said it was the first time in 25 years that no woman was elected.
There were three in the previous parliament.
“Since 1975, we’ve had a mixed level of representation,” she said.
“But we’ve only had seven women elected to Parliament.
“This is very important because the need for balanced decision-making is important to any country’s development.”
Of the 3332 candidates who contested the general election, 167 were women.
Rufina Peter, who contested the Central regional seat, said the biggest challenge was that politics was reserved for men and that women were not equipped to be effective political leaders.
She said the current political culture promoted corrupt practices particularly the buying of votes by some candidates.
“The government and development partners need to look at a well-planned and comprehensive intervention package to create a level playing field for women in PNG politics,” Peter said.
Meanwhile, Registry of Political Parties director Emmanuel Pok told The National that the three female MPs failed to retain their seats possibly because of their party-hopping.
Loujaya Kouza (Lae), Delilah Gore (Sohe) and Julie Soso (Eastern Highlands) won their seats during the 2012 general election but they changed their parties after being elected.
“The indications we received were that they changed parties and the consistency in their engagement with their electorate and people,” Pok said.
Pok said called on women to give female candidates their support.
By HELEN TARAWA