Equality essential

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday March 12th, 2014

 EQUAL opportunities for women and men support economic growth and help reduce poverty, Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes said.

Stokes was addressing a Business and Professional Women’s Club breakfast in Port Moresby to commemorate the International Women’s Day. 

“The Australian government is committed to be in the forefront of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea,” she said. 

She said out of the 774 million illiterate adults worldwide, two-thirds of them were women and the proportion was the same for over 20 years.

Stoke said that the International Labour Organisation claimed in its estimation that the Asia-Pacific region was losing between US$42-47 billion (K104.7-K117.2b) annually as a result of women’s limited access to employment opportunities and another US%16 billion as a result of gender gaps in education. 

The Australian government has invested in certain programmes to promote gender equality and women empowerment under challenges, and the progress towards gender equality had been slow.

These three pillars are to voice women’s decision-making, leadership and peace building to boost women’s economic empowerment and to end violence against women and girls in the community and workplace. 

Stoke said Australia was supporting the PNG police by setting up units to help survivors of family and sexual violence. She was one of the participants in last year’s hauskrai that drew public attention to the plight of women in PNG which helped in the successful passing of the family protection bill.