By BOSORINA ROBBY
CUSTOMARY practices which are abusive to women should be examined and discarded and replaced by practices that bring out the best in women.
Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu said an example of such was the payment of “bride price” which had become a gross abuse of good practice.
Dame Carol said “bride price” had commoditised women in the present era but in the old days it was the “social glue” that held communities together.
Speaking on the first day of the national policy for women and gender equality 2010-15 draft review yesterday, she said: “This policy needs to harmonise cultural and modern practices to see how they can both work together to ensure that customs do not get abused.”
She challenged all parties involved to come up with a uniquely Melanesian policy that encompassed all the good values and practices of both modern and cultural systems.
The workshop sought to source ideas and experiences and to align Government agencies, civil societies and all stakeholders’ policies to be incorporated into the policy.
The final draft policy will be tabled before the National Executive Council in April.
The draft policy looks into key areas which women are mostly disadvantaged, such as education, health, poverty, political empowerment, violence and other cross-cutting issues.
The policy seeks to find ways in which men and women are free and equal to uphold the integral human development and are safe from human rights abuses.